A cautious approach to HMV by publishers in recent months has meant many did not feel over-exposed as the chain went into administration earlier this week (15th December).
Simon & Schuster and Quadrille were among those reporting a low exposure to the company, while Bertrams was one of several businesses that had ceased trading with HMV several months ago owing to concerns. However, some book businesses are thought to have been still trading with the entertainment retailer and likely to be affected by the development.
Regardless, there was widespread sadness for the demise of the company, regarded as an important vendor of culture, music and film books. Kerr MacRae, executive director of Simon & Schuster, said HMV had increased sales of its books by 24% from 2011 to 2012, shifting large units of its music books such as the Jessie J autobiography. The store was up to date with payments and supply had been regular. He said: "We cleared out with them in terms of stock over Christmas. We still have some stock in there but our exposure was low. We had been closely watching the situation since September."
Anna Bond, UK sales director at Pan Macmillan, said: "HMV does good numbers on very selected types of titles, they have a targeted approach, and those types of titles are also the ones that Borders used to do very well with, so we just hope that if they do go, then other retailers will step in and support those titles."
Flame Tree publisher Nick Wells said he was concerned the move meant more business and power in the hands of online giants. "With core retailer chains such as Jessops and HMV removed from the already dilapidated high street consumers are pushed ever more into the arms of the online behemoth(s)," he commented. Melanie Gray, UK sales director for Quadrille said: "Quadrille, fortunately, has no exposure to debt with HMV but this news from the music business comes as a salutary lesson to the publishing industry."
As The Bookseller went to press, HMV administrators Deloitte said there had been some "very positive" expressions of interest in the retailer.