Week 15/20 – week ending 10 April

Books Etc SOUTH AFRICA has decided not to renew its subscription to
The Bookseller. Starting this week (week 15, ending 10 April 2020) the same bookseller and publishing news is now sourced from BookBrunch who I wish to
thank and acknowledge in full.

Penguin authors at home for video series

Penguin is launching an online event series, At Home with Penguin. It will feature authors including Marian Keyes, Richard Osman, Caroline Criado-Perez, and Melissa Hemsley, with further plans to be announced.

The series, streamed through Penguin’s Facebook page, will offer readers the chance “to connect with their best-loved authors in an intimate, friendly way”. It will include Q&As.

Chloë Johnson–Hill, director at Penguin Live, said: “Penguin Live exists to connect readers with authors via inspiring and entertaining experiences. We feel under the current circumstances these connections are more important than ever, which is why I’m thrilled we’re launching At Home with Penguin and those all-important connections can continue by bringing authors to readers from their homes to yours.”

The first At Home will take place at 5pm tomorrow (7 April), with Marian Keyes.


PRH furloughs staff

Britain’s largest publisher, Penguin Random House, has begun to furlough its staff in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last week some warehouse staff in the distribution side of the businss were furloughed and this week the process has been widened to include office staff in London. Analysis is underway to decide who will be affected, with decisions communicated to them over the next fortnight. Salaries will be topped up by the company so those affected do not lose out financially.

Ceo Tom Weldon (pictured) said: “We believe that a sensible and considered use of the Government’s job protection scheme to place some colleagues on furlough leave is the right thing to do at this stage. This is a temporary but necessary measure to protect jobs and the long-term health of the company. For those furloughed, we will top up salaries so that any colleague who is affected will continue to be paid in full. And we will continue to support and be in close contact with all colleagues to protect their mental and physical health during this time.”

PRH becomes the latest publisher taking cost out of the business as the grip of the epidemic tightens. Last Friday PanMac announced it was looking for staff to take voluntary pay cuts, whilst both Bonnier and Hachette are furloughing around ten per cent of headcount.

Under the furloughing scheme announced by the Government, the state will pay 80% of salary up to £30,000 a year.

Bloomsbury has this morning revealed plans to support indie bookshops during the coronavirus crisis by offering a referral incentive for Bloomsbury titles and sharing its ecommerce and distribution channels.

Under the scheme, bookshops can use the Bloomsbury website to deliver books to their customers ‘in a quick, reliable and cost-effective way,’ according to a statement from the publisher. Bookshops can direct their customers to Bloomsbury.com with a unique promotional code and Bloomsbury will credit 15% of that purchase price back to that specific bookshop.

According to Bloomsbury: ‘This initiative will provide valuable support to independent bookshops at this time when their regular delivery routes may be unavailable and reaching customers further afield or based internationally is challenging. So far, an enthusiastic number of bookshops have signed up to this initiative.’

Brigid Nelson, UK consumer sales director, Bloomsbury, said: “Everyone in the publishing industry is doing everything they can to provide books across the country at a time when readers need them most. We hope that this initiative helps towards protecting independent bookshops from losing out during this period of challenged trading due to the coronavirus. Bookshops are an essential pillar of local communities and the publishing industry, and we’re proud to help support small, independent retailers at this time of crisis.”

Rosamund de la Hey, owner of The Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells, said: “Every penny counts for indie bookshops right now, so it’s brilliant to see Bloomsbury launching this new online scheme. Many indies have gone online themselves for the first time in the past week, so hopefully we may all emerge from this crisis with some positives. What Bloomsbury have put together, with equal speed and efficiency, is really encouraging.”

The scheme is set to run until 1 June 2020. There is no minimum or maximum price limit, and orders over £25 are eligible for free delivery; orders received by midday will usually be supplied within 48 hours.

Independent bookshops interested in taking part should email Glen Holmes, sales and marketing manager at Bloomsbury, via glen.holmes@bloomsbury.com for further information.