Hachette to close doors in NZ

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 17:24 26/07/2013

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Book company Hachette says rapid growth in ebooks and overseas buying is responsible for the demise of its New Zealand publishing arm.

Hachette publishes locally based authors such as Paul Thomas and Nicky Pellegrino under the Hodder Moa name, as well as biographies of sports stars such as one of Jonah Lomu due out next month.

Hachette's Australia and New Zealand chairman Malcolm Edwards announced "with great sadness" today a restructuring that will close the local arm after the 2013 programme is published.

The long-serving management team of managing director Kevin Chapman, editorial director Warren Adler, and financial controller Rick Groufsky have all lost their jobs.

"I am grateful to them for agreeing to stay until the restructuring is completed to ensure that it goes seamlessly," Edwards said.

"Regrettably, we expect that approximately 12 other jobs will be lost."

Hachette New Zealand will now focus only on marketing and sales of international titles and the New Zealand backlist.

Edwards said the changes were caused by the increased buying of books from overseas "at the expense of the local trade" and the rapid growth of ebooks.

Last month fellow publisher HarperCollins also announced the closure of its New Zealand distribution network.

At the time, the company could not say how many jobs would be lost in the move as some of the people affected would be offered new positions.

Communications director Simon Milne, who could not immediately be reached for comment today, said the company was committed to publishing New Zealand books.

He previously said the decision was related to "economies of scale", and almost all publishers had moved their warehousing back to Australia.

Online foreign retailers such as The Book Depository and Amazon are cutting the local industry's lunch with cheap prices, free shipping, and tax-free imports.

Cheaply priced ebooks, which are sold and distributed over the internet, are also growing rapidly in popularity.

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