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What?s up Doc? Hessayon?s Expert guides dumped by B&Q for Titchmarsh books

Gardening and DIY chain B&Q has ditched Doc Hessayon's best-selling Expert books - and replaced them with Alan Titchmarsh's How To Garden guides.

B&Q, which has a contract with Alan this year to promote the gardening offering at its 330 stores, will no longer stock Experts despite having sold 500,000 Expert books in its stores over the past decade.

Expert Books co-ordinator at Transworld Publishers, Gareth Pottle, told AG: "Every year, a competitor tries to copy Dr Hessayon - and gets it wrong. The Doc isn't worried about competition, but he doesn't like an uneven playing field and this decision [by B&Q] is not giving the public a choice." As this issue of AG went to press, Transworld said the Doc, who is in his eighties, had sold 51.5million expert books, confirming his status as the world's best-selling gardening author. At B&Q alone, sales of Expert books rose by 16 per cent in 2009, with over 50,000 books sold last year.

A B&Q spokeswoman confirmed the chain had "de-listed a range of gardening books by Dr Hessayon." She said: "We are dealing with the same publishing company to stock five new book titles by Alan Titchmarsh."

“We have sold Alan’s books in store previously and we know they are very popular with our customers as is Alan, which is why we joined forces with the nation’s favourite gardener earlier this year for our campaign to encourage the nation to get gardening. "The How to Garden series offers accessible advice, inspirational ideas and reliable, practical know-how on all the key gardening topics. They are easy to use, packed with information and an essential point of reference for gardeners of all skill levels. Initial sales suggest that these new titles are as popular as we hoped they would be."