Crikey! A retailer down under, redeveloping its business model, will be setting a “minimum earnings ratio” for publishers. You don’t meet their standards? They don’t carry your books. As far as I know, this goes on everywhere here already. The news here is just a matter of it being said so boldly and the correspondence being published and the publisher kicking the retailer’s ass in a well-worded return letter. We’re headed to hell in a handbasket, people. And shoppers and retailers are the ones carrying us there.
Angus & Robertson’s demand that small- to medium-sized Australian publishers and distributors pay amounts said to range from $2,500 to $100,000 in order to have their books stocked in the chain’s stores has brought angry reaction from the book industry and book buyers. (See Undercover yesterday.)
Below is the full text of the letter that began the furore, and the reply sent by Michael Rakusin, director of Tower Books, to A&R Whitcoulls Group commercial manager, Charlie Rimmer. He has not yet had a response from A&R.
With the raw contempt on display in the first letter, I imagine he never will. Aussie readers: tell us the situation. Is it time for a boycott?