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Hudson hits out as Deloitte sells stock
01.01.70 | Philip Jones
The Publishers Association has accused Entertainment UK's administrator of adding "insult to injury" by offering stock to retailers, despite a previous agreement allowing publishers to reclaim their books. The PA brokered a deal last month with administrator Deloitte so publishers could reclaim books from Entertainment UK's warehouse. Publishers had to provide the administrator with details about the stock owed and what they wanted to collect.
However, supermarkets and high street retailers have been approached by Deloitte in the past week and offered stock from EUK. In a spreadsheet seen by The Bookseller, the total retail value of the books held is more than £10m. The list offers more than 5,000 different titles, including the current number one When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson.
Ian Hudson, president of the Publishers Association and deputy c.e.o. of Random House, hit out at the decision to approach retailers without the Publishers Association's knowledge. He said: "The administrator deprived us of the opportunity to get access to stock before Christmas and sell it at full value. It's pretty poor behaviour to then add insult to injury by claiming that they own the stock and they can therefore make it available for sale with no benefit to suppliers or the authors."
Under the terms of last month's agreement, publishers are able to reclaim an estimated 60% of the stock held by EUK. Ownership of the remaining 40% is under dispute: the administrator has still not recognised full retention of title. Hudson said: "I don't believe that they are entitled to dispose of this stock in this way. We are making absolute claims over this stock."
Since the agreement, major distributors had been speaking to Deloitte to reclaim stock on behalf of their owners and client publishers. It is unclear how much stock has been reclaimed, if any. Distributors have previously said that they have been held up by establishing exactly what stock is left, confirming how much is owed and arranging the physical collection of stock.
A spokesperson for Deloitte declined to comment on the PA's claims. But he did say: "We are continuing to sell off the stock held in the warehouse."