THE prospects for Meghan Markle’s book The Bench have been thrown into doubt due to a row between the publisher and the book store Waterstone’s.
The publication of the book doesn’t appear to be in doubt but the spat could impact sales.
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When will The Bench be available?
Currently the children’s book is scheduled to be available on June 8, 2021.
Meghan’s publisher Penguin Random House is in a spat with Waterstones, the Telegraph reports.
Penguin Random House has reportedly limited the credit they give to Waterstones – meaning the bookseller can only buy a certain amount from the publisher.
In response, Waterstones has yanked Penguin Random House books from its displays at 283 stores across the UK.
Waterstones bosses reportedly gave orders that only a small amount of Penguin Random House books should be visible to customers.
This could impact sales for upcoming titles like Meghan's book.
Waterstones says the measures were introduced to protect its stock, and are not a protest.
A spokeswoman said: "We are not boycotting PRH titles but we are doing our utmost to ensure that availability for customers remains good despite the lower overall levels of stock.
“We do this generally by giving their titles less prominent positioning within our bookshops.
“Waterstones are currently operating with reduced credit terms from PRH, the only publisher in the UK to place any limitations on our ability to trade.”
Waterstones usually buys books on credit, then raises the money to pay publishers back – however the chain's credit was reportedly reduced at the end of last year.
A spokesperson for the UK’s trade union for professional writers The Society of Authors warned: “There is understandably some concern among the author community about this.
“We’re talking about the UK’s biggest publisher and the UK’s biggest high-street bookseller.
“Whatever supply and contractual disagreements these businesses are experiencing, they both have a responsibility not to let them impact authors and the readers who want to enjoy their work.”
A Waterstones spokesman said: "We are hopeful with our shops now open again that normality will return and that we will be allowed to buy appropriately.
“Certainly, our shops are exceptionally busy and book sales are very strong. The sales for our May Books of the Month surpassed any month since 2018.”
Where can I buy it?
Customers can already pre-order the book on Amazon and also via WH Smith.
It has already become the number one bestseller on the online store’s site.
Waterstones also has the book for pre-order on its website.
It is also available to readers in the US via Bookshop.org.
What has Meghan said about the book?
The Duchess of Sussex penned The Bench after originally writing a poem for Harry's first Father's Day from Archie.
A picture of the book shows a watercolour by award-winning artist Christian Robinson of a bench under a tree surrounded by birds.
The mum-to-be's pen name is given as: "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex".
Meghan said: "The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father's Day, the month after Archie was born. That poem became this story.
"Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolour illustrations that capture the warmth, joy and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life.
"This representation was particularly important to me and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens.
"My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the make up, as much as it does with me."
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