Independent publishers call for more chain compliance checks

<p>Independent publishers have called for more compliance checks in chain stores to ensure promotional books are correctly positioned and stickered in every branch. </p><p>As part of a discussion at the Publishing Laid Bare Conference last week, about whether the high street is still &quot;valued ground&quot; for publishers, panelist Tom Chalmers, m.d. of Legend Press, said the chains would &quot;benefit from checks&quot;. </p><p>He described how on one occasion a title had been 10 days late in being added to a Waterstone&#39;s promotion. But, Chalmers added, &quot;the books always get taken off the tables immediately the promotion is over&quot;.</p><p>Audience members agreed compliance was a regularly recurring issue, with one delegate claiming &quot;a good 20%&quot; of in-promotion books were left unstickered.</p><p>Chalmers also highlighted the problems with access to chain shops. He said: &quot;A lot of people just can&#39;t get their books into shops because their distributor is too small. Since we changed to LBS it has made such a difference.&quot;</p><p>But Steve Potter, a buyer at The Book Depository, said getting books into high street chains was still &quot;undoubtedly valued ground&quot;, although he acknowledged it was &quot;increasingly difficult for small to mid-size publishers&quot;. He added: &quot;Online retailers can pick up your titles, but while all can be represented, there is still the question of how to get the prominence they deserve.&quot;</p><p>Chris Meade, director of &quot;think and do tank&quot; if:book, urged publishers to create an online phenomenon that high street retailers would then want to tap into. &quot;Be less obsessed with getting into Waterstone&#39;s and be what they want&mdash;something that is already going on that they want to be involved in,&quot; he said. &quot;There is very little point in having three copies of your book in Waterstone&#39;s, just because it&#39;s on the high street.&quot;</p><p>Speaking earlier at the conference, Scott Pack, blogger and editor at The Friday Project (and ex-Waterstone&#39;s book chief), said: &quot;If you&#39;re a small publisher and you manage to persuade Waterstone&#39;s to stock your book, if you actually do the maths, you can see you&#39;re just doing it for the profile.&quot;<br /></p>