Friday, 12 December 2008

Still No Buyer For Bertrams

This article is from BookBrunch by Nicholas Clee

"As the book industry awaits news of the sale of Bertrams, in a process that is taking longer to confirm than had been hoped, it is not only Bertrams staff and publishers who are eager for a resolution. With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, booksellers are desperate for normal supplies from the Norwich-based wholesaler to resume.

The supply by publishers to Bertrams on a pro-forma basis means that Bertrams cannot run daily deliveries to its customers. One independent bookseller told BookBrunch that he was waiting for more than 600 dues: "We're getting only one delivery a week from Random House, and two from Penguin."

At a time when sales are showing a double-digit decline on the same period last year, these delays are particularly troublesome.Switching orders to Gardners is not the simple solution it might appear to be. A bookseller's principal wholesaler will give a discount in the region of 45%; a wholesaler used for one-off orders will give some 10 percentage points less. Booksellers will not switch their entire accounts lightly. They want Bertrams to weather this crisis, as do publishers; but they are feeling increasingly nervous as the days go by.

Meanwhile, publishers are doing their best to supply a bestselling range to Tesco as news of a buyer for administration-bound EUK fails to emerge. Most stock is going through the Tesco-owned Oakwood, though millions of pounds-worth of books remain in the EUK warehouse."

Pauline Rowson, comments:
"This is such a shame as it is afffecting not only publishers and independent bookshops but also the authors who would dearly love everyone to buy their books. Of course, some customers will simply buy elsewhere, on line for example, but there are those like the elderly, who rely on their local bookshop. The bookshop could switch supplier to the other major book wholesaler, Gardners, but many won't have the time to do this before Christmas and for many it involves using a complete new on line ordering system which takes some time to implement and to train staff how to use. Come on Deloittes find a buyer and quick. "

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

No Buyer For Bertrams Yet

This article has been reproduced from the Norwich Evening News 24.

"A buyer has still not been found for one of the city's biggest employers.Bertram Books is currently looking for a buyer after the group's parent company Entertainment UK - the distribution arm of Woolworths - went into administration last week.It was expected a buyer would be found by the end of last week but Michael Neil, managing director of the company, said the situation remained “unchanged”.Bertrams itself is not in administration but its share capital is now under the control of the administrators Deloitte, which has decided to put the Broadland Business Park-based business up for sale.The company employs 400 people at its Norwich headquarters and more than 200 distribution staff in Yorkshire."

The other major UK books wholesaler, Gardners based at Eastbourne, is rumoured to have taken over the Sainsbury's account, one of the supermarkets left without supplies of books because of the administration.