H.B. Fenn and Company, Canada’s largest book distributor, today filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The company could propose a restructuring program, but the comment from founder and CEO Harold Fenn in a brief statement issued by the company this afternoon was sombre. “We have worked extremely hard to build the Company and keep it going even under today’s adverse conditions. My heart goes out to our over 125 employees and to the many publishers we represent, as well as the customers that have supported us over the years.”
In January, Key Porter Books, which is owned by Fenn, suspended operations, and today’s statement from Fenn indicates the parent company had been hard hit by “the loss of distribution lines, shrinking margins and the significant shift to e-books, all of which have significantly reduced the Company’s revenues.”
Fenn provided sales and distribution for about 40 companies including Macmillan, but it was dealt a big blow two years ago when Hachette Book Group opened a Toronto office for sales for its major national accounts such as Indigo Books and Music,, Costco and wholesale clients. Fenn continued to manage Hachette’s independent and library sales, but Hachette also moved its fulfillment service back to its U.S. warehouse.