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Posts Tagged ‘Angus & Robertson’

The Angus & Robertson/Australian Publisher Fight

Boy, is this skirmish turning into a real doozy. To recap, Australian book chain Angus & Robertson is might pissed off that suppliers that don’t contribute enough net profit to the Australian chain pay amounts, which means that it’s not in A&R’s interest to stock their books. The Sydney Morning Herald ran an angry letter from Tower Books which should be read in its entirety – start with how Charles Rimmer “literally burst out laughing aloud” upon receipt of A&R’s demands and go from there.

Now A&R has hit back, defending its actions to business broadsheet Crikey. Acknowledging that “the tone of this correspondence was inappropriate,” COO Dave Fenlon tries to set the record straight that negotiations are “purely about reaching a commercial arrangement with publishers,” not about alienating authors. How will publishers respond now? Stay tuned…

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Don’t Look for Miles Franklin Prize Winner in Aussie Bookstores

If you’re looking to find a copy of Alexis Wright‘s novel CARPENTERIA, winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Prize, don’t expect to find it in any Angus & Robertson shops. That’s because, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Tower Books (which published Wright’s novel) is among the smaller Australian distributors and publishers which have received a letter from A&R demanding a payment if they want their books to be sold by the company’s 180 bookstores around the country.

The letter from A&R Whitcoulls Group‘s commercial manager, Charlie Rimmer, said “over 40 per cent of our supplier agreements fall below our requirements in terms of profit earned” and “invites” recipients to pay amounts said to range between $2500 and $20,000 by August 17. “The payment represents the gap for your business and moves it from an unacceptable level of profitability,” Rimmer wrote. “If we fail to receive your payment by this time we will have no option but to remove you from our list of authorised suppliers and you will be unable to complete any further transactions with us.”

Not surprisingly, publishers are furious. “It came as a bit of a shock,” said Sarah Foster, the managing director of Walker Books. “I’ve been running this company for 14 years and I’ve never had a letter like this. It is a big disappointment: we can’t afford not to be in 182 bookshops.” Michael Rakusin, director of Tower Books, said, “It is incredibly hard to know what the corporate strategy is but there had to be a more polite, more constructive way of discussing it.”

Dymocks Ponders Bid for Borders Stores Down Under

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Dymocks is understood to be planning a bid for the Australian and New Zealand business of US book retailer Borders Group. The move will pitch Dymocks against local private equity player Pacific Equity Partners, which owns Angus & Robertson, as well as Borders Australia’s management team, led by managing director John Campradt, which is also thinking of bidding.

Dymocks, the #2 Australian retailer behind Angus & Robertson, holds 17-18 per cent of Australia’s $1.2 billion book retailing market, which excludes sales in tertiary institutions and book clubs. It has more than 84 stores, most of which are franchised, in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.