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Avalon Publishing Quietly Poised for Impressive Growth

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May 1-15, 2004 Edition

Avalon Publishing

Quietly Poised

for Impressive Growth

BERKLEY, CA/04/26/04—Avalon Publishing Group’s acquisition of Four Walls Eight Windows earlier this week signaled another giant step in a series of moves to quietly grow the mid-sized house into a much larger operation. Four Walls is Avalon’s 11th acquisition within the past 10 years. The transaction is scheduled to close May 31, 2004.

“We’re always looking for good opportunities,” Chairman and CEO Charlie Winton told Authorlink Friday, “but certainly not in any forced way. We have had a long personal association with Four Walls publisher John Oakes. He and I had been talking conceptually about the acquisition for several years.”

Under the new structure, nearly all of the 200 titles from Four Walls will be folded into Avalon’s Thunder’s Mouth imprint, with a few being published under Avalon’s Marlow. Avalon also bought the Four Walls Eight Windows name. For the time being the moniker will take a hiatus, but may be revived when it makes editorial sense, said Winton.

John Oakes will become vice president and publisher of Avalon’s Thunder’s Mouth and Nation Books imprints. He will have an equity stake in the company and will be based in Avalon’s New York office.

In addition to Oakes’ imprints, two other units are located in Manhattan: Carrol & Graf Publishers, headed by Will Balliett as vice president and publisher, and Marlow & Company, with Matthew Lore as vice president and publisher. These three publishers will report to a soon-to-be-hired New York publishing director, who will serve in an administrative role, reporting to California-based COO Susan Riech, and to CEO Winton. The New York director is expected to be announced and on board well before the BookExpo America exhibit in mid-June 2004.

“Our goal is to continue to grow the company,” Winton said. “Independent publishers with sales of $25 to $100 million are a unique breed. We hope to continue to do good work and to expand our publishing categories. Through our relationships with Publishers Group West (the distribution company Winton founded and once owned), and through our own publishing ability, we hope soon to have distribution and sales in the range of a major publisher,” said Winton.

The CEO added, “We’re very pleased about adding John Oakes to our group. John has created a distinct editorial persona that is a unique mix of progressive politics, literature, and quality nonfiction.”

Four Walls, Eight Windows brings two new categories to Avalon—popular science and science fiction. The company already publishes current affairs, biography, history, progressive politics and some literary fiction.

Avalon, already a leading independent publisher, also has operations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C. Imprints also include Avalon Travel Publishing, Blue Moon Books, Seal Press, which publishes women’s titles, and Shoemaker & Hoard, based in Washington D.C.