"Woolworths may be forced to sell off Bertram Group, the books wholesaler that it bought in January, after a referral of the acquisition to the competition watchdog."
A month or so ago we blogged about woolies buying up all the book wholesale operations in the country thus jeopardising the indies by compromising the relationship between bookseller and wholesaler.
We, of course, assumed the worst and expected the purchase to be steamrollered through the Office of Fair Trading without even so much as a whimper of argument.
Well, we were wrong. Here's Vincent Smith, the senior director for competition at the OFT:
“UK consumers spend some £360 million a year in independent bookstores and appear to do so largely because they value the fact that retailers stock a range of backlist and mid-list titles and offer specialist advice and service . . . Book wholesalers are the only cost-effective way for independent retailers to obtain the repeated, swift supply of small numbers of back-list and mid-list titles — rather than best-sellers — from multiple publishers. This is key to the quality and reliability of service that independent booksellers can provide.”
Couldn't have put it better myself. There's still hope. Full story here.