Novelty books becoming 'impossible to produce' warn publishers

Novelty books becoming 'impossible to produce' warn publishers

<p>A doubling of production costs and the imposition of VAT on certain types of novelty books will hit gift books this Christmas, with novelty books becoming increasingly unviable for publishers to produce. </p><p>Independent packager Tony Potter told <em>The Bookseller</em> production costs for the company&rsquo;s novelty carousel, <em>The Pirate Ship</em>, had doubled in the last two years, a result of increased pulp costs and new pay regulations in China</p><p>Potter said: &quot;The imposition of 20% VAT on &lsquo;carousel&rsquo;-type books earlier this year has made it impossible to produce that kind of book. They had already become much harder to justify because of the increase in production costs and because those costs can&rsquo;t be passed on to consumers.&quot; </p><p>Retailers have shied away from pricing children&rsquo;s books at more than &pound;10 during the recession.</p><p>&quot;Conventional books that can be produced automatically have seen a lowering of costs but handwork for novelty books is becoming more and more expensive,&quot; he added. </p><p>Macmillan Children&rsquo;s Books, which will publish <em>My Fairy Magic School</em> carousel book this Christmas, plans to publish just one more carousel book for Christmas 2011. </p><p>Managing director Emma Hopkin said: &quot;You have to cost everything incredibly carefully and the VAT increase was the final nail in the coffin. This kind of book is already under so much pressure from the UK market conditions, manufacturing costs and a global recession that makes it harder to sell co-editions .&quot;</p><p>While increased volumes could help offset higher production costs, some print runs have halved as companies avoid holding stock, said Potter. </p><p>&quot;My belief is that novelty books will become a speciality market because the costs of producing interesting and unusual creative books won&rsquo;t stack up for general publishers,&quot; he said. </p>