Bertrams is confirmed to have gone into administration as of this afternoon (19th June) and will be making company-wide redundancies.
Administrator Turpin Barker Armstrong said in a statement: “We can confirm that Bertram Trading Limited, the global book wholesaler, has entered administration along with Education Umbrella Limited, a supplier of textbooks and digital education resources and Dawson Books Limited, an academic and professional library supplier. Book wholesalers have suffered from falling demand in recent years due to changes in the distribution model for literature and the rising popularity of e-books. These factors, combined with the Covid-19-related closure of many public libraries and educational facilities, meant these businesses could no longer operate viably.
“Sales have been agreed in principle with two unconnected parties for the tangible assets and unencumbered stock of Bertram Trading Limited and for the intangible assets of Education Umbrella Limited and it is hoped that these will be completed shortly.
“Unfortunately, the majority of employees have been made redundant with immediate effect with a small number retained to manage the winding down of operations. We are liaising with all employees impacted regarding their statutory rights and to direct them to support from the relevant government agencies.”
Bertrams' other assets and facilities, including the Norwich-based warehouse, "extensive inventory of packaging and sorting machinery, power plant, compressors, racking systems, motorised conveyors, material handling equipment, office furniture and IT equipment" are to be sold in an online auction between 1st to 6th July.
The auction also features an "extensive inventory of retail literature", detailed as "38,763 various titles in a total quantity of 292,576 books".
Speaking to The Bookseller, Sam Jordison of Galley Beggar, owed money by Bertrams, said he feared he was unlikely be repaid. "It is pretty maddening that they've cost so many of us so much—and so unnecessarily," he said. "But there's nothing to celebrate in their demise. It's sad for the trade and everyone who works there. I hope something can be rescued from the ashes—although I'm not particularly optimistic."