England: a publisher on the verge of bankruptcy after a literary prize

Galley Beggar Press is a small publishing house founded in 2012, whose publications have built a reputation for it. The latest: Ducks, Newburyport by the novelist Lucy Ellmann, who appeared in the selection of the Booker Prize 2019. In addition to the notoriety that this nomination already promised to bring, the publisher had undertaken in parallel to collaborate with the online bookstore The Book People. The latter has been offering the books selected for the Book Prize every year for 25 years at discounted prices.

But that was reckoning without the difficulties experienced by the brand specializing in online sales – where books represent 70% of turnover. This does not indeed lead wide in the face of Amazon’s hegemony, so much so that it has just been placed under the control of the tax administration since last Tuesday. Leaving Galley Beggar Press with a huge hole in its cash flow.

A big risk for Galley Beggar Press

The publisher had in fact invested £40,000 to produce the 8,000 copies needed to take part in the operation to promote The Book People. Last Wednesday, the online bookstore posted an exceptional offer: the 6 Booker Prize finalists for £35.99 instead of £111.97 – a saving of £75.98. The publishers’ share of the revenue was due to be paid in January 2020.

Except that the company’s difficulties led to a freeze of funds, thus removing all hope from the publisher of being able to profit from the promotional operation, and to quickly recover funds.

It was a big business “, recognized Eloise Millar, the co-director of Galley Beggar. ” It’s a sum we normally never commit, but it was part of the calendar and part of the competition and when Ducks, Newburyport were part of the final Booker Prize selection, we did. »

Faced with the financial abyss and the threat of seeing itself in difficulty, Galley Beggar Press immediately launched a crowdfunding campaign. The collection was an unexpected success, going so far as to exceed the amount of the expected sum – £42,761 collected out of a goal of £40,000.

We’ve gone from heartbroken to… wow… in the space of two hours. For the GoFundMe page, in a moment of wild optimism we’ve updated the limit to the full BP amount (40K). If we can keep going, it would mean the world. Either way, THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH. https://t.co/Ykht78li7p

—Galley Beggar Press (@GalleyBeggars) December 18, 2019

Many actors in the book sector have indeed mobilized to help the publishing house, including the director of literature of the National Center for Writing and Arts Council England, Sarah Crown. ” Seen in isolation, Galley Beggar is an exceptional force in British publishing. In their sector, they are an essential component of a large and interdependent ecology that is better, richer and healthier because of them. Supporting them benefits us all “said the latter.

The Book People in trouble again

Founded in 1988, The Book People was one of the largest online bookstores in England. Its administration now threatens 400 jobs. The company has since called on PwC, a company specializing in auditing and consulting.

Assuring that no dismissal was to date envisaged, Toby Underwood, co-administrator and partner at PwC, nevertheless conceded that ” [b]Although directors have funds to meet payroll in December, the longer-term outlook for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly hinge on whether a sale can be completed. “.

This is the second time The Book People has failed to file for bankruptcy. Already in 2014, she had been saved thanks to a backup plan provided by the company Endless.

Via, The Guardian, sky news

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England: a publisher on the verge of bankruptcy after a literary prize