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Publishers rally to support Blackwell
01.01.70 | Charlotte Williams
Publishers have heeded warnings that academic booksellers had "months to survive" by offering greater support during this year's academic season, the m.d. of Blackwell has reported.
David Prescott said publishers have been willing to work with the high street and campus bookseller by supporting stockholding and promotional discounting. "This year publishers seem to have understood that if they want a physical window for their products on campuses and on the high street then they have to be more supportive of booksellers," he said.
"In Blackwell's terms the vast majority have been supportive and willing to talk about creative ways of doing that. However, there is always more you can do and we will carry on talking to those publishers who are willing to innovate." He added negotiations had made the chain able to compete more effectively online.
Graham Taylor, director of educational, academic and professional publishing at the Publishers Association, said "the pressure is on" in the textbook market, with the lead-up to university funding changes next year and the shift to digital. Taylor said while he did not know the intricacies of the commercial negotiations taking place between publishers and booksellers, it was "encouraging" to see publishers responding to booksellers' needs.
He said: "The policy changes impacting higher education in the UK are the most profound in a generation and they are arriving next year. It will be interesting to see how these changes follow through in the provision of learning resources. With the funding changes we are reaching a time of innovation and change in the sector, and it is a time for both publishers and booksellers to work together and realise the opportunities that might be there in those changes."
At the Booksellers Association's Academic, Professional & Specialist Bookselling Group (APSBG) conference in March this year, the then Waterstone's m.d. Dominic Myers warned publishers that academic bookselling in bricks and mortar shops had reached a "crisis point" in which 2011 would be a defining year.
Myers called for more support with margin, funding consignment stock in shop windows and for more collaboration between publishers and booksellers.
His negative forecast was backed by the BA's APSBG chairman, Blackwell store manager Iain Finlayson, who told the BA's a.g.m. in June that he also believed academic bookselling on the high street had reached a "tipping point".