Publishers are likely to honour any subscriptions pre-paid via the now-bankrupt Swets and “soak up the damage”, The Bookseller has been told.
Swets, a content distributor for publishers to libraries which is based in Leiden in the Netherlands, filed for bankruptcy on 23rd September. The future of Swets’ subsidiaries around the world is unknown, but its employees in the Netherlands will continue to work until 23rd October, as their salaries have been paid by the Dutch government.
Academic publishers at FBF said there had been a number of meetings to discuss what should be done, with Cambridge University Press journals m.d. Simon Ross, saying that people knew Swets had been in trouble for a while, but “no one acted on that information”.
Ross added that the priority now was to contact customers and make them aware of what had happened, and of how to contact Swets to try and get any pre-payments back. He said: “We are going to have to honour those subscriptions [already paid] because we want them renewed in 2016. Whatever happens, publishers will soak up the damage.”
Swets received around €35m in pre-payments from customers, with around €10m of this figure subject to some form of guarantee. But it is unlikely that the remaining €25m will be recovered, Audrey McCulloch, c.e.o. of the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers, said during a webinar last week.
Timothy Wright, chief executive of Edinburgh University Press, told The Bookseller that “the key thing for us, and I think for a lot of people, is to contact the customers who normally subscribed to journals through Swets in order to ensure those customers are either going to come direct to us or work through other subscription agents out there”.