Meghan Markle's kids' book The Bench could flop after Waterstones pulls publisher's books from display in supply row

MEGHAN Markle's children's book is at risk of flopping after Waterstones pulled its publisher's books from displays in a row over supply.

The 39-year-old's book The Bench was expected to be released to the public on June 8.

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However, her publisher Penguin Random House is in a spat with Waterstones, the Telegraph reported.

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.

Penguin Random House accounts for around one-quarter of the publishing market in the UK.

Not one of its books have been included on Waterstones' Book of the Month list since the row between the shop and Penguin Random House began.

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.”


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".

She will also narrate an audiobook of the tale.

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."

Further photos from inside the book shows a boy being lifted into the air by a red-headed dad in military uniform as a woman weeps from the window.

The words accompanying the picture say: "Looking out at My Love and our beautiful boy.

"And here in the window I'll have tears of joy".

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