Seagull Book No Longer Allowed to Sell Deseret Book Products

Seagull Book No Longer Allowed to Sell Deseret Book Products

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Mormon church-owned publisher and retailer Deseret Book no longer will allow privately owned Seagull Book & Tape to market the church company's works written by about 140 Mormon authors.

Deseret Book's line includes books by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including by church President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Both companies operate chains of bookstores in addition to publishing their own titles,and have carried each other's line of books for years.

Deseret Book said it does not like the way Seagull had marketed Deseret Book titles.

"It's basically a difference of opinion about how we were treated from a merchandising standpoint," said Jeff Simpson, executive vice president of publishing for Deseret Book.

Simpson called it a routine business decision.

"We open and close vendors all the time. The important thing is that our titles are still available in hundreds of outlets," he said.

Seagull, which is known for selling Mormon products at discounted prices, will have until the end of the month to fill customer orders before its account closes with Deseret Book.

Seagull would not return calls for comment Tuesday, but in a letter secured by the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, the company wrote that Deseret Book's decision was "a complete surprise to Seagull management" and assumed its "discount prices are the reason."

About 50 percent of Seagull's book selection, and 30 percent of its audio selections are Deseret Book products, a Seagull employee who wished to remain anonymous told the newspaper.

Some Seagull employees fear being laid off due to decreased inventory.

The retailer has carried Deseret Book titles since its opening in 1987. Today, Seagull has 25 stores,

Simpson said there are no plans to negotiate with Seagull, saying pulling Deseret Book titles from Seagull "is not a negotiation, but a decision."

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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