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Posts Tagged ‘Avalon Publishing Group’

Reich Returns to Head PGW

PW Daily reported yesterday that Susan Reich has been named president of Publishers Group West, where she rose to the position of v-p, marketing, before leaving and eventually becoming president and COO of the Avalon Publishing Group, one of PGW’s biggest clients. She begins at her new position on July 30, reporting to Perseus COO Joe Mangan. “Susan’s knowledge of PGW and of what is important in a relationship between an independent publisher and its distributor is both broad and deep,” said Mangan in a memo sent to employees. “Her career really leads to this role.”

Before working in the independent press world, Reich had 15 years working for major publishers and was a bookseller in her early career. When Perseus acquired Avalon in January, Reich announced that she would leave the company at the end of June. “This is absolutely a homecoming, because I get to work with an incredible group of people, most of whom I have known for a long time at PGW.”

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Soft Skull Purchased by Winton, Shoemaker LLC

After last week’s announcement of the massive restructuring of Perseus – leading in part to layoffs, imprint cancellations and the formation of a new venture by Charlie Winton – now comes a new announcement that Winton, Shoemaker & Co., LLC has acquired Soft Skull Press. This is their third acquisition this year. In February of 2007, they acquired Shoemaker & Hoard from the Avalon Publishing Group, and earlier in May they acquired Counterpoint from The Perseus Books Group.

As with the Counterpoint transaction, the Soft Skull transaction is expected to close in June. As announced last week, when the transactions close the company will be renamed Counterpoint, LLC. Soft Skull will remain as an imprint of Counterpoint. Soft Skull’s Publisher Richard Nash will join the company as an Executive Editor and will also maintain the title of Editorial Director of the imprint. Nash will acquire for both the Counterpoint imprint as well as continuing to acquire for the Soft Skull imprint. In the fall 2007 season, titles acquired by Soft Skull will be published under the Soft Skull imprint and will be distributed by PGW. Beginning in winter 2008, all Counterpoint and Soft Skill titles will be distributed by PGW.

Winton says, “Richard is a tremendous addition to our team. He brings with him a number of authors and relationships that will fit within the Counterpoint list and that compliment Jack Shoemaker‘s editorial sensibilities. At the same time, by maintaining the Soft Skull imprint we will be able to extend the range of what we are able to publish.”

Today in AMS: PGW Conference Calls, Bankruptcy Court Hearings

Publishers Lunch reports that Publishers Group West clients were explained in a conference call yesterday he details of the offer being formulated by Perseus Books Group, which has already secured distribution rights for Avalon Publishing Group and its imprints. The rough plan is for Perseus to pay 70 cents on the dollar of what clients are owed up to the date of the bankruptcy filing. PGW would continue operating as is for the next six months before clients accepting the Perseus offer would move over to their distribution facility. Though other offers could still be tendered, 70 cents on the dollar is a lot higher than what PGW clients were expecting.

So on the face of it, this looks like Perseus could well be PGW’s savior – or is it? Never mind that already the company is responsible for CDS and Consortium clients, and adding the full roster of PGW clients would give it a gigantic stake in independent publishing, with the ramifications and consequences still very much up in the air. Never mind that there’s no word on which of PGW’s clients were included in the conference call, as grumblings have reached GalleyCat‘s ears of “musical chairs”-like prioritization, potentially leaving some struggling independent publishers out in the cold, with little recourse but to shut up shop. In other words, the news sounds good – but optimism is far from guaranteed.

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Today in AMS: Avalon Signs with Perseus

Publishers Lunch reported late yesterday that the Avalon Publishing Group, which includes Carroll & Graf, Shoemaker & Hoard, Seal Press, Thunder’s Mouth Press, Nation Books, Marlowe & Company and Avalon Travel Publishing, has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by the Perseus Books Group. (AP picked up the story this morning.) Terms were not available, but Avalon is said to have been generating about $32 million annually. Charlie Winton, Avalon’s president (and former PGW founder) will stay in place during a “transition period” and then will serve as a consultant to Perseus, including advising on “how to further develop Perseus’ client services business through which Perseus provides sales and distribution services to independent publishers.”

Since Avalon was one of the most high-profile clients of Publishers Group West, this is big news -and it remains to be seen, as Michael Cader pointed out, what this news means for the rest of PGW’s 150-odd publisher clients. Make what you will of Perseus CEO David Steinberger‘s comments in his statement about the new deal: “Charlie and I are already working together on a proposal to AMS, PGW and PGW clients, all of whom are facing a very challenging situation. We have talked to a number of clients and we are in discussions with AMS.” Winton says, “We think a path can be found that would benefit all parties. Because of its two distribution lines – Consortium and Perseus Distribution – Perseus is ideally positioned to lead this initiative.”

For Winton, the sale to Perseus marks the end of a five-year odyssey with AMS that began in 2002 (and included his replacement as PGW’s head by current CEO Rich Freese in 2003.) And as Pat Holt (of Holt Uncensored fame) predicted back when AMS bought PGW, “this marriage between distributors with conflicting philosophies is going to hit some purty stormy patches.” Did it ever – and Winton’s necessary defection may well signal even more defections, whether to Perseus or to different distribution waters. This morning, the anonymous Radio Free PGW blog added its own take on the story with a part history, part obituary of PGW as it once was.