Bookshops' annoyance at original Fantastic Beasts withdrawal

Bookshops' annoyance at original Fantastic Beasts withdrawal

Bookshops have expressed anger that they can no longer get hold of the 2001 edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for customers ahead of the film release next week.

Independent bookshops have told The Bookseller that customers are requesting Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, published by Bloomsbury, but they cannot order copies from wholesalers.

A Bloomsbury spokesperson confirmed the publisher is withholding copies of the original 2001 Fantastic Beasts title (pictured) in anticipation of releasing a new edition, with a foreword by J K Rowling, next year. "The current edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not available to all retail customers as a new edition is set to publish in March 2017," the spokesperson said. "The new edition will contain updated and extra content from J K Rowling, that will more correctly reflect the world J K Rowling has created in her script for the forthcoming Warner Brothers film. The new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will continue to support Comic Relief with a charitable donation per copy sold."

However, the decision means booksellers do not have any copies of the book to sell around the release of the film, which is out on 18th November.

Cat Anderson, children's specialist at the Edinburgh Bookshop, said she is losing business because of the decision. “People are coming in asking for [the original Fantastic Beasts] but I can’t sell it," she said. "I’m having to explain to customers I can’t order it for them so I’m disappointing children and losing sales. When I investigated getting new copies in I was told the book was out of print."

Anderson said customers will have to pay a lot more for the new book (h/b, £12.99), than the original hardback, which was on sale for £4.99.

Therese Brikmane, manager of Tales on Moon Lane, echoed Anderson’s annoyance. “I’ve had to explain to our customers we can’t get the book in," she said. "It creates the impression we don’t want to get the book, even though we’ve sold it previously. It’s hard. We want to support the book in the shop.”

Jonathan Main, owner of the Bookseller Crow, said Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them “seems to have disappeared”.

“I had older copies until recently so I sold those but when I tried to re-order it seemed to have disappeared,” he said. “It’s a bit rubbish to be honest.”

Amazon.co.uk and Bloomsbury’s website are both taking pre-orders for the new hardback editions, although the older editions are not listed. They are both, however, selling Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Newt Scamander: A Movie Scrapbook, which is published by Warner Bros.

Rowling's agency The Blair Partnership told The Bookseller: "It’s common practice to let an old edition of a book go out of print when a new edition is forthcoming. In the meantime, booksellers have a great selection of related titles coming up for sale, including of course the much-anticipated screenplay of the film, which is published to coincide with the movie release on 18th November."

Bloomsbury is not the publisher of the official Fantastic Beasts screenplay, which is being released by Little, Brown. However, it is publishing several tie-in titles, including A Pop-up Gallery of Curiosities and Newt Scamander A Movie Scrapbook, both of which will be released on 18th November, the same day as the film. Bloomsbury Children’s publishing director Rebecca McNally acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Insight Editions, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

Several other publishers in the UK have tie-in book deals, including HarperCollins, Scholastic and Walker Books.