Elliott Advisors, owner of Waterstones and Barnes & Noble, has bought Wordery, the online bookselling division of U.K. wholesaler Bertrams. Wordery will be a separate business from Waterstones.
James Daunt, Waterstones CEO, told the BBC last week that the chain's online sales were up 1,500% since the Covid-19 lockdown began. At the same time, the lockdown compelled Bertrams to announce a temporary closure of its book supply business beginning April 1.
In the U.K., there are conflicting reports on how book sales are doing with some reports claiming lots of books are still being sold despite challenging conditions. While bookshops may open again soon, there is likely to be some restrictions and a lot of stores will remain closed. Still, U.K. infection and mortality figures are improving.
Bertrams is owned by the equity group Aurelius, which said it was "reviewing its strategic options" for the wholesaler, and for Bertram subsidiaries schoolbook supplier Education Umbrella, and for academic supplier Dawson Books. However, a note in the Sunday Times yesterday said that Bertrams planned to appoint administrators.
A version of this story first appeared in BookBrunch.