19 December 2019


Independent book retailer The Book People has gone into administration.

Toby Underwood and Zelf Hussain of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were appointed as joint administrators on Monday (16 December) and are now looking for a buyer for the business, which specialises in selling children’s books and collections at competitive prices.

The company has experienced a “difficult trading environment” combined with increasing working capital pressures, according to PwC.

Underwood said: “I can confirm that the business continues to trade and at this point in time no redundancies are currently envisaged whilst we rapidly explore a sale of the business.”

Founded in 1988, more than three-quarters of The Book People’s sales come through its online platform, with the balance coming via employed and self-employed distributors who deliver mobile book fairs at schools, and pop-up stores in workplaces.

The business, which sells over 17 million children’s books each year, has an annual turnover of more than £50m and employs 393 staff. It is headquartered in Godalming, Surrey and operates an 8,500sqm warehouse in Bangor, North Wales, from which deliveries to customers are coordinated. 229 of the company’s staff work at this facility.

Underwood said the administrators intend to fulfil and deliver all customer orders received and accepted.

“I appreciate the obvious concerns that staff in particular will have as we move towards Christmas,” he added.

“Whilst the administrators have funding to meet the payroll for December, the longer-term prospects for the business, staff, customers and suppliers will clearly be dependent upon whether a sale can be secured.”

The Book People had been acquired as part of a rescue deal in 2014 by private equity group Endless.