Hachette has announced it is abandoning publishing new books in New Zealand and is moving their publishing division to Australia. Malcolm Edwards, chairman of Hachette Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement: “Hachette New Zealand will become solely focused on the marketing, promotion and sales of our international titles and the New Zealand backlist. Mel Winder, as sales and marketing director, will lead the company, reporting to Matt Richell, CEO of Hachette Australia, with immediate effect.”
Richard Kitson, commercial director at Hachette UK, said in a note to staff that “the New Zealand government’s abandonment of territorial copyright protection” and “a significant shift to sales from offshore online retailers who are not liable for the sales tax that is levied on local retailers” were among factors behind the decision.
The New Zealand publishing business has shrunk largely because of “the increased sourcing of books from overseas, at the expenses of the local trade, and the rapid growth of e-books”, Mr. Edwards says. The book trade has been one of the big casualties of online ebooks and e-readers. In early 2011, the Whitcoulls and Borders chains were placed in voluntary administration.