Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Bertrams future ‘at risk’

In the UK, the Sunday Times reports that Bertrams will appoint an administrator, with the Bookseller writing that the book wholesaler’s future is ‘at risk’ following the sale of its online bookshop Wordery to Elliott Advisors and the temporary closure of the Bertram business since 1 April, in response to Covid-19.

‘A number of publishers have confirmed to The Bookseller that they have stopped supplying, or limited supply to, the business with new books as a result of unpaid bills, dating back to before the lockdown,’ the report said.

Bertram Group chief executive Raj Patel told The Bookseller: ‘In light of the sale of Wordery, Erasmus and Houtschild businesses we are currently reviewing strategic options for the rest of the Bertram Group … The wholesale division supplies books to the high street which is currently problematic as the bookshops are closed with no indication as to when they might re-open.’

On its website, Bertram Group owner Aurelius Group said it was ‘reviewing its strategic options for the Bertram wholesale division, Education Umbrella, a key supplier of books to schools, and Dawson Books’.

Aurelius bought Bertram Group in 2018.

‘If confirmed, this will be the second time Bertrams has fallen into administration in the past 12 years,’ writes the Bookseller. ‘In November 2008, following the collapse of its then parent company Entertainment UK, Bertrams was placed in administration, before being bought in February 2009 by Smith News. The latter sold the business to private equity firm Aurelius for £6m (half what was originally agreed) in February 2018.’

The Bookseller said the loss of the wholesaler would be ‘a major blow to the trade, leaving close competitor Gardners in pole position to pick up new business and dominate the marketplace’.

As reported previously, Gardners has also temporarily suspended its book supply business in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Category: International news