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Posts Tagged ‘Graeme Neill’

Bertrams Merger Backed By Indie Bookseller

The Bookseller‘s Graeme Neill reports that an independent bookseller has defended the Competition Commission‘s decision to provisionally clear the merger between wholesalers Bertrams and THE. Ian Nicholson, owner of Alison’s of Tewkesbury, said the decision would lead to better conditions for the independent sector.

“This has already been proved by the discounts being offered by both concerns to independents, and I am sure it will long continue,” he wrote in a submission to the CC. “I believe the industry will be better served by two strong players, than two plus one weak one,” he added. “As there is already sufficient legislation in place to stop the two concerns making cartel agreements to hurt independents, I have never had any reservations about this merger.” The CC will deliver its verdict on the merger between the wholesalers within the next three weeks

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Borders Wants UK Deal By Autumn

Borders is believed to be keen to clarify the future of its UK and Ireland business before the main autumn selling season begins, according to the Bookseller’s Graeme Neill. The summer lull has seen suitors scrutinise the finances of the company, with W H Smith gaining increasing currency as a potential buyer if the price drops below 25m pounds. “I can’t see it operating as a standalone business,” said influential City analyst Richard Ratner from Seymour Pierce. “WH Smith will only take them over for a decent price—and they will strip out the underperforming stores to cut costs.”

Borders UK Splits Books Teams

The Bookseller‘s Graeme Neill reports on Borders UK plans to restructure its buying team in a bid to improve its buying system, manage its stock better and develop its promotional activity. The new system will divide the book team in two, with the buying team taking responsibility for all new title buying and promotional activity for frontlist and backlist, and the range coordinators overseeing management of all backlist titles as well as core stock.

The buying team will be under the management of books category manager Caroline Mileham and will focus on developing genres and working with publishers to build sales. Range development manager Pete Harvey will run the range coordinator team, which will concentrate on improving and developing the core range, ensuring key backlist titles are in stock and identifying returns.

HP-1: Asda Prices HP7 at 5 pounds

Supermarket Asda has set a new benchmark for pricing as it will be selling HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS for an unprecedented £5, 72% off the recommended retail price, reports the Bookseller’s Graeme Neill. Bloomsbury said they were “bemused’ by Asda’s pricing and warned that it will sell out very quickly, disappointing those keen to pick it up cheaply. “We are confident that readers will still choose to buy their books at other retailers across the country amid crowds of fans looking for a magical atmosphere rather than just a cheap price and they are more likely to continue to have it in stock,” said Marketing Director Minna Fry, who added that pricing the book at 5 pounds means incurring an extra 2.5 million pounds of debt for parent company Wal-Mart. Ah, the joys of price wars…

The Fopp Report: Publishers Last in Line

The Bookseller’s Graeme Neill reports that publishers will be last in line to receive any money owed to them by Fopp, which went into administration last week. Books held within the 50 Fopp stores and 31 Music Zone branches will remain there until the administration process is completed over the next few weeks. Publishers own the stock that fell under sale or return terms, while the administrators own the stock that Fopp had bought firm sale. Under the terms of administration, staff will receive money owed first, then the banks, then suppliers.

In related news, Waterstone’s has hired Fopp book buyer and ex-Waterstone’s Piccadilly manager Sarah Callaghan to work initially on children’s books within its commercial team.

Publishers Waiting for Change in Fopp Status

The Bookseller’s Graeme Neill reports that publishers are still in the dark over the future of their book orders with Fopp, after the high street chain canceled book orders and said it was in negotiations with its bank. “We haven’t had any contact from them, nor any indication of what the future of the business is,” one publisher said. Another added: “It would be nice to have some communication from them. We are hearing nothing. They bring a nice diversity to the high street, so it would be a shame if they were in trouble.”

When contacted by The Bookseller, a number of stores said they were not closing. “The company has been talking to banks and suppliers to negotiate new deals from them,” one sales assistant said. “The stock take last week was rather unusual but we needed an accurate valuation of how much the business is worth.”

Union Calls for Waterstone’s Meetinga

Representatives from the Unite union–formerly Amicus/Transport & General–have lined up a meeting with Waterstone’s HR director Wendy Drinkwater to discuss “concerns” regarding the chain’s harmonization of contracts, reports the Bookseller’s Graeme Neill. The changes, which are under consultation, will unify Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s contracts and will also affect a small number of staff still working under other contracts such as Dillons.

Bill McComish, Unite’s Waterstone’s representative, said that “dozens” of staff had been in contact with the union about the new measures, and a delegation from Unite was due to meet Drinkwater this Thursday, though Waterstone’s would not confirm the meeting. Waterstone’s management has stressed that it is offering staff a competitive pay rise, as well as providing opportunities for those who wish to move into management to do so.