Faber is closing its Faber Factory Plus sales service for small independent publishers, taking the decision with “a heavy heart” after “ a difficult year last year.”
The publisher's clients include companies such as Daunt Books publishing, Murdoch Books, Pavilion Books and Pushkin Press, among others. Most publishers have been given six months’ notice to find new distribution and sales representation, but a Faber spoksperson added: “Discussions are on-going with the publishers involved and we are honouring contracts that extend beyond May 2016."
The publisher said it had endeavoured to keep the service in operation but the combination of publishers leaving Factory Plus and “ever changing market conditions” had made it “impossible to continue,” the company said.
Stephen Page, Faber’s c.e.o, told The Bookseller that the company would "continue to represent some in the physical book trade" but for others the service will close in May 2016. Faber also provides the sales force and administrative team for Independent Alliance which currently consists of 10 publishers, including Canongate, Profile Books and Granta.
Page said: “Faber had a difficult year last year and we've had to take a number of strong business decisions to ensure that we thrive in the future. Some of the those decisions, including this one, we've taken with a heavy heart.”
Faber saw a drop in turnover for the year ending March 2015, with a significant increase in its operating loss from the previous 12 months.The publisher’s turnover was £15.9m, down 1.8% from £16.2m the year before but the company made an operating loss of £813,000, up from £5,000 in the 12 months to March 2014.
Page added: “We take great pleasure and pride from working with other excellent independent publishers and while we will continue to represent some in the physical book trade, unfortunately we cannot offer that service for the range of publishers we have represented over the last four years."
Publishers Unbound, Head of Zeus, Bradt and Crimson had already left the service earlier this year before its closure.
Publishers have been left disappointed with the decision to close with sales service, with Daunt Books publishing arm describing it as a “big blow.”
“From our point of view is it is a really big blow when we have just got enlisted for representation and that was really beginning to work for us,” Brett Wolstencroft from Daunt Books said. “We weren’t up and running for long with the Faber Factory Plus but it was long enough to see that it was making a significant different to us. Faber Factory was a great fit for us and our titles and there aren’t a lot of other ones we feel will fit.”
In March this year, eight roles were made redundant from Faber after a company restructure. However, the publisher said no redundancies were to be made over the closure of Faber Factory Plus.