October 11 – October 15, 2007 Edition

Book Distributor
Bookworld Closes,
Bankruptcy Likely

SARASOTA, FL/10/5/07–Bookworld Companies, a Florida-based distribution company with more than 100 small publishers and several larger ones as clients, has closed its doors, according to The Book Standard and the (Sarasota) Herald-Tribune. The company may now be forced to declare bankruptcy.

The Sarasota-based distributor, which had about $8 million in annual sales, has battled sales declines, collection problems and several costly lawsuits during recent years. The company has not yet filed for bankruptcy and founder Ronald Ted Smith told the Herald-Tribune he will not do so unless “severely threatened.”

About 20 employees have been laid off and the company’s website remains open only for logged-in clients. Bookworld’s home offices have been put up for sale to help cover bank loans.

Bookworld has been hit with legal fees for several lawsuits within the past two years, and now publishers are considering a class action law suit, all of which might force the defunct company into bankruptcy. One case was set for a hearing in U.S. District Court this week.

Even if Bookworld returns inventory to publishers, some customers may be forced to close as a result of lost receivables since funds are being redirected to the Florida bank that financed the distributor’s $1 million line of credit.

If Bookworld declares bankruptcy it would be the second large book distributor to do so within the past 12 months or so. American Marketing Services filed for bankruptcy in December 2006, with much of its client list being picked up by Perseus Books Group.

Bookworld’s customers include Barnes & Noble, Borders and wholesaler Ingram Book Group.