July 12 – July 19, 2007 Edition

PGW Clients
Regain Footing
After AMS Demise

7/10/2007—More than 130 small publishers severely hit by last year’s bankruptcy of American Marketing Services (AMS) and its distribution arm, Publishers Group West (PGW), are now “rising from the ashes,” according to a report on the blog, Bookslut.

When parent company American Marketing Services (AMS) filed for bankruptcy in December 2006, PGW book distribution channels were essentially shut down, causing an almost total loss of fourth quarter sales revenues for the indies and an uncertain future for them all.

Then, in what was to be one of the biggest deals in the history of independent publishing, Perseus Books Group offered to pay 70 cents on the dollar to any PGW client who would switch their distribution contracts to Perseus for four years. Apparently the deal is working.

Bookslut reports that Perseus told Morgan Entrekin, president and publisher of Grove/Atlantic that if Grove signed on, Perseus would extend the offer to all other PGW clients. Entrekin signed in early January, and when Perseus offered the same conditions to the rest of the PGW clients, most jumped at the chance. Getting 70% of what was owed to them was far better–it meant possible survival–than nothing at all.

Many small presses, including Milkweed Editions, Hawthorne Books, and Soft Skull Press (later bought by Winton, Shoemaker & Co), have gone from facing bankruptcy themselves to brighter prospects for the future, according to the blog.

Quoting from the Bookslut article: “Publishers bothlarge and small, non-profit and for-profit, express excitement, hope, and relief about the future with Perseus. Morgan Entrekin of Grove/Atlantic fairly gushes over the new alliance: ‘We’ve now created the greatest option for independent publishing–and I’ve been in the independent publishing business for twenty-four years. We really have a better situation than I ever could have hoped for last fall. We keep all the PGW people and relationships, and the business is stable.’”

The article quotes several independents as extremely upbeat, and calls for readers everywhere to support the small presses, a list of which appears on the PGW website, to PGW’s active client list. Read the full article at Bookslut.