Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Distribution Dilemmas in Australia

I got an email from a reader (hurrah, somebody actually reads this blog!) and he gave me a link to an Australian news item that concerns book distribution. It's entitled A&R Dumps Books and basically it's a response to Angus & Robertson's new policy of asking publishers and distributors to pay $2,500 to $100,000 for them to stock their books. A briefer article can be found here and here's an excerpt from Angus & Robertson's letter:
We have recently completed a piece of work to rank our suppliers in terms of the net profit they enerate for our business. We have concluded that we have far too many suppliers, and oer 40% of our supplier agreements fall below our requirements in terms of profits earned. At a time when the cost of doing business continues to rise, I'm sure you can understand that this is an unpalateable set of circumstances to us, and as such we have no option but to act quickly to remedy the situation.
Basically, what the big bookstore chain is saying is that selling books is not as profitable as they expected it to be and they want publishers and distributors to subsidize them or else they'll drop their books from their inventory. Now it's perfectly within the rights of the bookstore to do such a thing. I'm just surprised they have the audacity to tell bookstores "pay us or else we won't stock your books, contrary to our previous practices". Personally, I'd rather just have them drop my books and cull the books that aren't selling from the best-sellers. (I mean what if my best-sellers decide not to pay? Isn't that depriving me more as a bookstore if the books I stock are the ones that aren't moving but the publishers paid me to stock them? Or do they think by virtue of simply having them on the shelf, those books will move anyway?) I just don't think what Angus & Robertson did was a smart move, in terms of decision or implementation. You can read more of The Sydney Morning Herald's reaction here.

You can also check out my previous posts on something similar:

1 comment:

banzai cat said...

Yeah, I remember reading that at Making Light. TNH's comments were pretty astute too.