U.K. Wholesaler Bertram Group Is Up for Sale

From Publishers Weekly:

Bertram Group, one of the top U.K. book wholesale companies, is up for sale, according to The Bookseller. An advertisement online notes that the company had revenuer of some £250 million last year, with a gross profit of £9 million. The assets that have been put up for sale include the company’s 185,000 sq ft warehouse, as well as 200,000 titles held in stock. In addition, Bertram’s subsidiaries, Dawson Books and Education Umbrella, are also for sale.

The company had shut down its warehouse temporarily due to the pandemic and sold off Wordery, its online bookstore, to Elliot Advisors (which also owns Waterstones and Barnes & Noble) earlier this month. Bertram also divested its European library businesses, Erasmus Antiquariaat en Boekhandel BV and Houtschild Internationale Boekhandel BV, to the Italian company Casalini Libri SPA.

On May 3, the company announced it would go under “strategic review.” The Bookseller has noted that numerous publishers interviewed by the magazine are owed money by Bertram’s.

The move to sell the company is widely viewed as a means of trying to avoid bankruptcy.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG says it’s a good time to be a bankruptcy attorney.

4 thoughts on “U.K. Wholesaler Bertram Group Is Up for Sale”

  1. sold off Wordery, its online bookstore, to Elliot Advisors (which also owns Waterstones and Barnes & Noble) earlier this month.

    I wonder about this. Waterstones has an online bookshop. B&N has an online bookshop. Wordery is an online bookshop. How many online bookshops does one need to own, anyway?

    ETA: from their FAQ:

    — Do you sell ebooks?

    No. We think nothing beats the feel of a real-life, proper, papery book in your hands.

    • Consolidation: removes a competidor, adds their customers. Maybe.

      The BPHs pushed Borders out to shift customers to B&N. 25% of B&M shelf space gone and most went to Amazon instead.
      Oops.

    • After re-checking the website, I think another question would be, why would ANYBODY buy it, at almost any price. The search is terrible, much of the stock is missing or unavailable, and the prices are not competitive. I tried searching for some recent books that I have seen float by here

      Pelosi – by Molly Ball
      — not found by searching for Pelosi, a search for Molly Ball turned up the audiobook. (so much for proper papery books.)

      The end of October – by Lawrence Wright
      — not found at all.

      The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – by Suzanne Collins
      — not found when searching by author. found when searching by name. They do offer free shipping provided you buy it for $8.41 more than you would pay at Amazon for a hardcover.

      Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone by Rowling.
      — “currently unavailable.” — I don’t think I need to say any thing more here.

      Where the Crawdads Sing – by Delia Owens (on amazon charts forever)
      — available in Spanish. Just Spanish.

      Little Fires Everywhere – by Celeste Ng. (46 weeks on Amazon charts, now a big deal with Reese Witherspoon.)
      — also “currently unavailable”

      Alexander Hamilton – by Ron Chernow
      — found when searching by name or author, but not when just searching for “Hamilton”. Price $31.80 (a savings of $5.20 over the Recommended Retail Price of $37. (!!)) – vs Amazon’s hardcover price of 23.99 and kindle price of 14.99. Still, this is lower than bookshop.org’s price of $33.30, especially when you factor in bookshops $3.50 shipping charge. ($36.80 total)

  2. After re-checking the website, I think another question would be, why would ANYBODY buy it, at almost any price.

    Warehouse for widget distributor.

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