Local Authors > Matthew Buckley

Deseret Book buys Seagull and Covenant Communications.

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For those that might not understand what that means, it's kind of like Microsoft buying Apple.


I wish I had Rob's phone, I would be very interested in his thoughts...

Wow. Just... wow. You're right, it's like MS buying Apple--buy the competition, then close them down. Yet at the same time, that certainly does solve the problem of competing bookstores. Now, will DB get out of the bookselling biz? Or just expand?

House of Mustard:
Another author had this to say, which I thought was very interesting:

--- Quote ---Yep. Lots of questions and I’ll bet even Covenant employees don’t know most of the answers. I’ve got a few thoughts but I could end up totally wrong on all of them.


1)       Will DB and Seagull stores continue to remain open in all locations? It would be great to have access to so many stores without the DB/DB and Covenant/Seagull focus. But if you give top shelf space to DB and Covenant books in all stores you will have to carry less inventory. What does that do to other publishers or authors who may not have as much clout? And realistically can you expect DB to keep stores open that are within a block of each other?

2)       Will Covenant remain as a separate imprint? If so, will DB move their LDS fiction to Covenant, non-fiction to DB, and national to Shadow Mountain? Or will they still all dabble in a little bit of everything?

3)       Will DB and Seagull share catalogs or will there still be a divide there?

4)       If Lew sold Covenant because it was struggling, DB may cut back on the number of titles published by Covenant. Or they might really help sales by promoting more fiction. If DB bought Covenant because it liked how well Covenant was doing fiction, it could be more or less left alone.

5)       Now that Covenant is owned by DB, there is no need for the restrictive contracts. Does that mean things like the promo clause will go away too?

6)       Will the respective companies be run separately or will they start combining and standardizing?

7)       Is this bad for independents? Or will DB and Covenant now be able to do away with the huge volume discounts since they are the only LDS chain that can buy in volume?


Lots of other questions, but in general my guess is that some stores will close, Covenant will remain a separate imprint, top authors will make more money, smaller authors will struggle a little, opportunities will be opened, marketing resources will be combined, fiction will not go away, contracts will improve, other LDS publishers are going to have the same difficulties they’ve been facing in the last few years, and independent bookstores won’t be especially hurt or helped. It mirrors what’s been happening in the national market, It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

--- End quote ---

House of Mustard:
My thoughts are these:

This will probably turn out to be good for me personally.  I've long said that Covenant/Seagull would vastly improve when they stopped being a mom-and-pop, family-owned kind of operation.  Marketing will likely improve (due in no small part to an increased budget and better connections).  I'll probably get my books on more shelves at more stores.  (Of course, this all assumes that DB/Seagull won't streamline the operation and axe half the authors, which is a very real possibility.)

But I think that, as good as it could be for me or Matthew, it won't be good for LDS fiction.  The biggest problem in the market has always been publisher-controlled retailers.  If you're from a small publisher, then you had a terrible time getting your books sold.  Up until yesterday, there were only two companies who could properly market and sell their books--and now there's only one.  With only one company calling the shots, and controlling 80% of LDS bookstores, growth of the LDS fiction genre is going to be severely hampered.  Monopolies are good for the company in control, but lack of competition is devastating to the consumer.

(And, if the longstanding problem has been a lack of an independent retailer, the huge Seagull/DB conglomerate has now moved from two 800 lb gorrillas into one 1600 lb King Kong.  With 60+ stores now, it's only that much harder to compete with.)


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