Trade 'confused' over Jonasson sale

Trade 'confused' over Jonasson sale

Booksellers say they are "confused" as to what to do with their editions of The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, following the High Court order banning Hesperus from selling or distributing further copies.

The order was issued following an action brought by Hachette Book Group against Hesperus in London, which saw a private hearing take place in the High Court's Queen's Bench Commercial Court on Friday (24th April). 

Hesperus must comply with the order by 8th May. The title is still selling strongly in the UK, with 24,738 copies recorded through Nielsen BookScan this year.

However instructions have yet to be issued to Grantham Book Services, which distributes the print edition of the title in the UK, a Penguin Random House spokesperson confirmed. The spokesperson said: "In these situations our distribution team receives instructions from the publisher which, depending on the individual case, might be to freeze or to recall the title in question. Our distribution team in turn communicates this to retailers. GBS is awaiting formal instruction from Hesperus with regards to The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared."

Patrick Neale of independent Jaffe & Neale commented: "I don't really understand what is going on, I'm afraid - I'm definitely confused. We have sold over 250 copies of the Hesperus edition and it has still been selling this year. I guess we will just wait and see if anyone tells us what to do. We still have Hesperus stock in, so what would we do with that? I think we'll just wait and see if we hear anything. The title has been very popular with customers since it was published."

David Pagendam, head of marketing at Bertrams, said the wholesaler had not received any order to remove the title. "If we get one then obviously we will review that, but at this stage we have not received any notification to remove it from sale," he said.   

Amazon.co.uk is currently featuring the Hachette e-book edition of the novel although the Hesperus Press paperback edition is currently still listed for sale.

The 100-Year-Old Man . . . has recorded total UK print sales of 551,015 via Nielsen BookScan and over 700,000 e-books have been sold since publication in July 2012. However Jonasson has confirmed to The Bookseller that he has concerns over the level of royalties paid to him, and the quality of the royalty statements he has received, and that his Barcelona-based lawyers are now working on the issue in conjunction with those of Hachette Book Group USA. Jonasson's agent Carina Brandt has said the author had seen only "a small amount" of royalty money in the autumn of 2012, but nothing further. He had also seen no approved royalty statements, she said. Jonasson commented: "It has been difficult over the years to get any information at all from Hesperus Press."

Hesperus company directors Gabi Sharbain and Shadi Sharbain and chief financial officer Ayman Al Asmar have yet to respond to a request for comment on the royalty claims.