New Adult is 'here to stay'
The new adult genre is &ldq...
Jobs to go as Bertrams buys Blackwell's library contracts
Wholesaler Bertrams has bou...
Bertrams redesigns Dawsonera
Bertrams has revamped its a...
Goble admits Bertrams fraud
Graham Goble, former head o...
Media websites grow book sales
Book wholesaler Bertrams ha...
PA chief asks trade to keep backing Bertrams
23.01.09 | Graeme Neill and Victoria Gallagher
Bertrams/THE managing director Michael Neil reiterated his confidence in a sale of the wholesaler being completed within the next few weeks as independents complained of deteriorating supplies.
Indies have reported difficulties in receiving both frontlist and backlist titles with key books often unavailable, including titles such as Twilight, Revolutionary Road and Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Sleep.
Bertrams/THE has been buying books from publishers on a pro-forma basis since the Publishers Association oversaw a deal in early December. Ian Hudson, the association’s president, stressed that the trade had to continue to support the wholesaler as "the alternative would not be good for the industry".
However, some publishers have expressed fears about the possibility of a sale not being completed. One m.d. of a major publisher said: "The trade needs two big wholesalers to compete with one another but [the sale of the company] has been going on so long, that it’s looking quite risky."
Anthony Forbes Watson, Macmillan’s m.d., said: "We remain hopeful that Bertrams will find a buyer but I think we need to see one in the next few weeks. For the coming year, we need to see all the channels to market open and as secure as possible."
Neil described the sale as "progressing well" but admitted that availability had been hit as the wholesaler has had limits imposed on the stock it can buy. He added: "We can’t buy as much as we’d like to, but sales are strong. Our sales are ahead of where we predicted they would be at this point when [parent company] EUK went into administration."
The wholesaler reduced its minimum order value to £100 from £125 to compensate customers. It sent letters out last week to around 900 customers which stated: “We have a number of serious potential buyers and the sale process is planned to be completed by the end of January or the very start of February."
Bertrams: independents’ view
Many independents feel a degree of loyalty towards Bertrams but have found that a lack of stock has forced them to seek alternative supply routes as a back-up. Gary Kingdon of Badger Books in Burnley said: “There is a distinct lack of availability with Bertrams: they haven’t got 50% of the books you search for.”
Inga Sweetman of City Books in Hove said: “Bertrams has definitely had low stocks, but that’s to be expected. I think that what has happened with Bertrams has encouraged us more to go direct to publishers.”
Meanwhile, Joanna de Guia of Victoria Park Books in Hackney, north London, said: “My aim this year is to use wholesalers as little as possible.”
Despite Bertrams’ troubles, many hoped the wholesaler’s situation would improve. Illona Leighton-Goodall of the Broadway Bookshop, also in Hackney, said: “They’re good to deal with and we’d hate for them to go under. They are not in financial difficulty, so it would be daft.” Keith Smith of Warwick Books, Warwick, added: “I’m sure they will resolve the situation—we will remain loyal to them.”