Tesco threatens Irish publishers over missing bestsellers

Tesco threatens Irish publishers over missing bestsellers

<p>Tesco Ireland has threatened to pull publishers&#39; entire range from its shelves if certain titles &quot;bypass&rdquo; it and go to rival retailers.</p><p>In a letter sent to Irish publishers this week, Gordon Howey, buying and marketing director at Tesco&#39;s book distribution company Reedmoor, claimed &quot;certain top titles [are] not being presented to us, which have gone on to appear in the Irish bestseller list&quot;.</p><p>The letter continued that Tesco shared this concern and was looking to ensure certain titles &quot;are not &#39;reserved&#39; for the traditional trade. If we find evidence of this happening the offending publisher will have all their titles removed from sale and returned. This decision has been made in agreement with our colleagues at Tesco.&quot;</p><p>When contacted by <em>The Bookseller</em>, Howey said the letter was to do with Penguin Ireland&#39;s recent publication of <em>The Fitzpatrick Tapes</em>, a book based on the Irish banking crisis based on interviews with the former head of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick. The book, under heavy embargo, was published on 7th January. Copies of the book were delivered to Dublin city centre bookstores and media outlets by Penguin Ireland&#39;s office staff including the publisher&#39;s m.d. Michael McLoughlin.<br />Howey said: &quot;It came on sale and we knew nothing about it. What we are trying to do is make sure the offering Tesco has does represent the bestselling lines for customers. All we were trying to do was outline the need to know so we do not miss sales opportunities.&quot;</p><p>Penguin Ireland&#39;s McLoughlin refused to comment on the letter or whether he felt he had given Tesco sufficient time to stock the title. However, Irish publishers were bemused by Reedmoor and Tesco&#39;s step. &quot;It smacks of arrogance&rdquo;, said one. &quot;It would help if Reedmoor was prepared to listen in presentations about books that we felt would do well. It&#39;s a two-way street and they need to play ball as well as us.&rdquo;</p><p>Jim Binchy, group sales and marketing director at Hachette Ireland, said: &quot;We obviously can&#39;t show publishers every title, and books do outperform expectations . . . but the publisher can get caught out by a book&#39;s success as much as a retailer sometimes&shy; can.&quot;</p><p>Gill &amp; Macmillan publishing director Feargal Tobin said: &quot;I really don&#39;t know where this is coming from. Our sales people are in regular contact with Reedmoor and we would have no policy of reserving titles.&rdquo;</p><p>Howey denied the letter constituted a threat to publishers. &quot;It&#39;s not a veiled threat but we have to have good working relationships with publishers. We wanted to make everyone aware that we have no preferential suppliers and there is one rule for all.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, Tesco signed exclusive deals in the UK to be the sole retailer of Quadrille&#39;s<em> Christmas with Gordon</em> by Gordon Ramsay and Robbie Williams&#39; autobiography. </p>