The Booksellers Association is buying Bertrams' bookselling system Bertline, in order to support independent retailers.
The BA's technology arm, Batch, will take over the running of the system by the end of June.
BA m.d. Meryl Halls said: “The BA Group has focused all its energy since the start of the Covid crisis on putting in place mechanisms to maintain maximum stability for high street bookselling as it strives to return to full strength after the enormous body shocks of the virus and its ongoing impacts.
"The purchase of Bertline by the BA Group is in line with this motivation—to preserve stability for the independent sector, to secure a crucial supply chain tool for over 250 independent booksellers, and to minimise disruption to the supply chain, and to the effectiveness of high street bookshops reliant on the Bertline system. We intend to continue business as usual for our bookseller members, and we are delighted at the swift and responsive reaction of Bertrams’ c.e.o., Raj Patel, to our approach to step in to secure the system for the future. We look forward very much to working on the smooth transition with the Bertrams' team and hope that our indie members who are Bertline users see a clearer future, and one less anxiety as they enter the re-opening phase of the crisis.”
Bertrams is currently up for sale along with its subsidiary companies Dawson Books and Education Umbrella. The BA has said if the company remains in business as a wholesaler it will continue to place orders with them, as with other suppliers.
Fraser Tanner, managing director at Batch, said he was "delighted" to secure the service during a "uniquely challenging time".
Patel added: “I am really grateful to the Booksellers Association in taking charge of a much-loved system developed in tandem with the independent bookshops over the years. Bertline has been the system of choice for hundreds of bookshops across the country. I know Bertline is in good hands and will be further developed by Batch and representatives of our book industry.”
In a statement Andy Rossiter, BA president, said he was "proud and delighted" to secure the future of Bertline, despite the "vexed circumstances".
He added: "Securing this essential ordering and stock control tool is a huge vote of confidence in the indie bookselling sector by the BA Group, and I can think of no better home for it than with the Batch suite of services. Batch has proven itself an invaluable tool for bookshops of all sizes for many years, and as the technology arm of the BA, is uniquely well-placed to continue the provision of the service to BA members.”
The BA will contact members directly in connection with Bertline in the coming weeks.