News articles and blog posts elsewhere indicate that Deseret Book and Seagull Book and Tape have agreed to continue negotiations, and Deseret Book has postponed its deadline to August 31st.
Hopefully, this gives the two companies time to resolve their difference, whatever it is exactly, and keep the LDS Book industry from the consequences of what is, in my opinion, an ill-considered move.
If they do reach an agreement that allows Seagull to continue to purchase Deseret Book’s publications, I will be interested to see the effects.
Here and elsewhere, commenters have suggested two possible motivations for Deseret Books’ move: first, that Deseret Book wants Seagull to reduce its discounting of Deseret Book products; and second, that Deseret Book wants Seagull, as its statements have indicated, to better merchandise and promote its books.
We might know which of these is true by Seagull’s actions following the end of August (barring another postponement or a breakdown in negotiations). If Seagull puts more effort into merchandising and promotion, then that may have been the issue. On the other hand, if Seagull reduces the discounts it gives to customers on Deseret Book titles, that may have been the real issue.
I probably shouldn’t take that too far. We still may not know for sure. I currently lean toward the idea that discount is the real issue, but Seagull increasing its merchandising of Deseret Book titles doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong.
Regardless of the real reason behind Deseret Book’s actions, or even who is at ‘fault,’ it is good news that they have agreed to postpone the date that Deseret Book will stop shipments.
It will be even better news should the two companies find a way to resolve this dispute. The sooner the better.