Pub Rants

Anderson News

 10 Comments |  Share This:    

STATUS: TGIF! And I’m heading out the door.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX by Glen Campbell

There certainly has been some talk in the blogosphere regarding Anderson News and the sudden suspension of business but if you are a genre writer in mass market, you might want to pay attention.

Not to be confused with Anderson Merchandising which supplies to Wal-Mart and Costco, Anderson News was a big distributor of mass market books mainly into the grocery chains. Recent mm releases that were being handled into those venues by AN are getting hit by it. Rumor has it that the books were trapped in locked-down warehouses.

So below are a few links for some of the most recent stories regarding Anderson News.

It’s hard to glean from the stories that are hitting the wires what the everyday impact is but think of it this way. If books weren’t getting into venues as publishers supposed they were, that’s lost sales. Chances are good that’s impacting current cash flow because books weren’t out there to be sold.

And now all AN assets are going to be tied up into what looks like a major lawsuit and countersuit.

The good news is that impacted publishers have switched distributors in a hurry so as to get back to business but what about all the inventory trapped in warehouses? Good question.

Anderson News Suspends “Normal Business Activity”
by Judith Rosen — Publishers Weekly, 2/9/2009 9:09:00 AM

Anderson’s Debt May Top $200 Million
by Judith Rosen — Publishers Weekly, 3/6/2009 7:10:00 AM

Anderson Sues Magazine Publishers & Wholesalers
by Judith Rosen — Publishers Weekly, 3/11/2009 8:28:00 AM

10 Responses

  1. Eric Riback said:

    The entire episode is stunning. Back in the day, every town had its own magazine distributor, and those companies took on MM paperbacks when they became available. Anderson News was one of those and grew by acquisition. Then in the 90s the national chains such as Wal-Mart and Kroger forced consolidation since they didn’t want to deal with a lot of local mom and pop distributors, so Anderson became one of perhaps four such distributors in the country and certainly the largest. Now with the collapsing magazine market they went after publishers for more coin (specifically 7 cents per copy) and the publishers refused and Anderson closed down. As to that inventory, fuggedaboudit. The publishers will have to print more, and those books in Anderson’s warehouses and depots will get returned long after they are salable if they get returned at all. I wonder if this will cause any change in the ridiculously inefficient business model. For magazines, if they sell 40% of what is printed, that’s considered good. Not sure where the MM percentages are, but I’m guessing 50%. The “returns” are not returned at all, but shredded and the distributor sells the shred to recyclers. My favorite part is that some of the same titles that get shredded by the returns department are being reordered by the buyer because sales are good and they want to put it back out on the racks. Thus, print 2+ books or magazines for each one sold. Wonder why magazines are $5 on the newsstand and MM are $8?

  2. leesmiley said:

    I work for a retailer formerly serviced by Anderson News. The latest word we’ve received is that News Corp. will be taking over as our magazine and paperback vendor.

    We haven’t had any new product since early February and our shelves are looking mighty bare.

  3. Anonymous said:

    In a probably unrelated development, the paperback book racks in my local grocery store are barren. I rarely pause to browse through the titles since I don’t read genre romance, which was the primary stock. All that naked shelf space was shocking.

  4. Just_Me said:

    That’s never good news. I tried to think if I’d seen bare shelves, and then realized I haven’t been in a real grocery store in a while, at least not one that stocks books.

    This may be a sign I need to move closer to civilization…

  5. Anonymous said:

    The last time Billings Montana counted as “civilization” they were still bringing cows up from Texas the slow way.