The launch of Meghan Markle’s children’s book could be hampered and see copies in ‘less prominent positions’ than others following a row between its publisher and Britain’s biggest bookseller.
The Duchess of Sussex’s baby-friendly tome The Bench is due out on Tuesday and is expected to arrive with near-royal fanfare and publicity.
But a row between its Penguin Random House and Waterstones publishers means it could be relegated from the front of the house to the less glamorous normal display areas.
The smash of fiction is about the credit PRH gives the bookseller – in simple terms, how many copies he may have in the store.
This in turn prompted Waterstones to move the publisher’s titles away from prominent displays and instead place them in shelves and even warehouses.
A spokesperson for the chain said: “We are not boycotting PRH titles but we are doing everything we can to ensure availability for customers remains good despite the overall drop in inventory.
“We usually do this by giving their titles less prominent positioning in our bookstores.
Meghan’s book was released on June 8 and was due to appear in major bookshop windows
The Duchess of Sussex said the book – which will sell for £12.99 ($18.99) – will explore the ‘special bond between father and son’ as ‘seen through the eyes of a mother’ .
The potential issue was caused by a feud between Waterstones and PRH publishers
“Waterstones is currently operating on reduced credit terms from PRH, the only publisher in the UK to impose limits on our ability to trade.”
The Telegraph reports that the store has insisted the measures are to protect stock, not to protest Penguin.
It was also suggested that none of the publisher’s books made it onto Waterstones’ Book of the Month list as the row raged.
The Society of Authors, the UK’s trade union for professional writers, 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 bookseller.
“Whatever supply and contractual disagreements these companies face, they both have a responsibility not to let them affect authors and readers who want to enjoy their work.”
Meghan’s £12.99 ($18.99) book is inspired by Prince Harry and his son Archie and is illustrated with photos of a red-haired soldier.
She said the idea grew out of a poem she wrote for Harry on Father’s Day the month after Archie was born and would explore the ‘special bond between father and son’ as “seen through the eyes of a mother”.
The story, which will be published June 8 by Random House Children’s Books, will be illustrated by best-selling California artist Christian Robinson, who was raised by his grandmother in a one-bedroom apartment also shared with his brother, two cousins and his aunt.
Another image shows a father with his baby boy sleeping on a deck chair outside. A press release said the book featured a “diverse group of fathers and sons”.
In an illustration by artist Christian Robinson, a red-haired soldier wearing a US-style army cap is seen holding his young son aloft as a woman watches crying from a window, in a likely reference to her and Harry, who served in Afghanistan. with the Blues and Royals. The words read: ‘This is your pew, where life begins, for you and our son, our baby, our family’
It is not known if this bench, on which Meghan and Harry sat, provided any inspiration
Who is Christian Robinson, the artist whom Meghan Markle chose to illustrate her first children’s book
Christian Robinson, 34, is the American illustrator behind what Meghan Markle dubbed the “beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations” in her first children’s book. The bench.
The Duchess of Sussex said she had “worked closely” with the California artist to portray father-son relationships through “an inclusive lens”.
Robinson was born in 1986 in Hollywood, California.
The Bench illustrator Christian Robinson hails from California, Meghan’s home state, and has previously worked with Sesame Street and Pixar.
He was raised by his grandmother in a one-bedroom apartment shared equally with his brother, two cousins and his aunt.
He used drawing as a way to “make space for himself and create the kind of world he wanted to see,” his website says.
Robinson – who is now based in Sacramento, Calif. – studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts.
He has worked on animations with The Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios.
During an internship at Pixar, Robinson was asked to do some character designs for the movie Up.
Pete Doctor – the director of Up – spotted his illustrations and asked Robinson to do the children’s version of the film.
From there, Robinson carried out various projects – including teaching art to children – before asking her to illustrate other books.
His drawings for the New York Times bestseller Last Stop on Market Street – about a young boy’s bus trip – won him several awards, including a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.
A press release said Meghan, who chose to use her title on the cover of the book, wanted the story to be told through an “inclusive lens” and will feature a “diverse group of fathers and sons. “. Meghan will also narrate the audiobook for $4.99 – which, along with the hardback version, could earn her millions through sales.
In one illustration, a red-headed soldier wearing an American-style cap is seen holding his young son aloft as a woman watches crying from a window. This is likely a reference to her and Harry, who served in Afghanistan with the Blues and Royals. The words read: ‘This is your pew, where life begins, for you and our son our baby, our parent’.
The royal, who went by the name ‘Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’, said in a statement: ‘The pew started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after the birth of Archie.
“This poem became this story. Christian has layered beautiful and ethereal watercolor 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 portray this special bond through an inclusive lens.
“I hope The Bench will resonate in every family, no matter their makeup, as much as it does in mine.”
It’s unclear whether Meghan has received an advance for the book and whether part of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but a branding expert has suggested it has already earned her £500,000 following a “bidding war to secure his first business”. .
Footage from inside the book shows a boy being lifted into the air by a red-haired man in a military uniform as a woman cries through the window.
The words that accompany the image read: ‘Looking at My Love and our beautiful boy. And here, at the window, I will have tears of joy”.
Another image shows a father with his baby boy sleeping on a deck chair outside.
The words say: ‘From here you will rest, you will see the growth of our boy’.
A press release read: ‘Inspired by her own husband and son, the Duchess of Sussex’s debut touchingly captures the changing and expanding relationship between father and son and reminds us of the many ways in which love can take shape and express itself in a modern family.
“Evoking a deep sense of warmth, connection and compassion, The Bench offers readers a window into shared and lasting moments between a diverse group of fathers and sons – times of peace and reflection, trust and belief. , discovery and learning and lasting comfort. .’
The press release describes the Duchess of Sussex as a “mother, wife, feminist and activist” who “currently resides in her home state of California with her family, two dogs and a growing flock of rescue chickens”.
MailOnline has approached Penguin Random House and Waterstones for comment.