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Posts Tagged ‘Levy Home Entertainment’

Another Distributor Bites the Dust

PW Daily’s Judith Rosen reports on a new wrinkle in the Koen Book Distributors bankruptcy, which took place in July 2005 and is still working its way through the courts. Soon after the distributor went under, Levy Home Entertainment stepped in to create Koen-Levy Book Wholesalers, which was run out of Koen’s former New Jersey warehouse using much of the same staff. But now that, too, is about to shut down. “We decided the business was not performing as anticipated, and it would not make its numbers in the foreseeable future,” Levy president and CEO Carol Kloster and senior v-p and CFO Steve Carlson told PW Daily. Most, if not all, the employees will be laid off, and publishers will be paid in full. Kloster and Carlson anticipate that it will take 90 days to fully close the facility.

If the Koen name sounds familiar to those new to the publishing and distribution game, perhaps its frequent mention of late at Radio Free PGW in relation to the AMS bankruptcy – and how Baker & Taylor handled its buyout of Koen warehouse stock – will ring a bell.

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Today in AMS: Request for Liquidation, Levy Buyout Imminent?

First, let’s start off with facts: Both PW Daily and Publishers Lunch have seen papers filed with the bankruptcy court handling the AMS Chapter 11 filing fallout, and in it The Unsecured AMS Creditors’ Committee has filed a motion asking the court not to approve the company’s debtor-in-possession financing, which they say is unnecessary, and to move instead towards liquidation of the company as a result of its “hemorrhaging” money and it “no longer being a viable entity.” As for the proposal from Perseus regarding the contracts of PGW, attorney Bruce Nathan of Lowenstein Sandler, which represents the committee, says that, “The creditors’ committee wants to see PGW sold as a going concern and, in that regard, is working with Perseus to resolve certain concerns with respect to the proposed Perseus transaction agreements. The committee hopes that its issues will be amicably resolved.”

Now, the rumor, and it’s a big one: Radio Free PGW reports that an offer to purchase AMS’s holdings – without PGW – is “imminent” from the Charles Levy Company, which is responsible for Levy Home Entertainment. The anonymous blog notes particular coincidences in the potential announcement, especially “that four or so of the top AMS execs and upper tier employees left AMS a few months ago to work for a new Levy office in San Diego…that those AMS people were all chums–and we do mean chums in the chummiest kind of way….that there wasn’t a single thing about the AMS bankruptcy that was not pre-planned and pre-meditated.”

Today in AMS: More on Perseus’s ‘White Knight’ Status

If our coverage of the AMS bankruptcy of late borders on the skeptical, it may be because we can’t help but be reminded of one scenario in particular: if Perseus does indeed end up the sole distributor of all 150-odd clients of the entity now called Publishers Group West, then Perseus would become the distributor for nearly 300 publishers. “Independent distribution is a tremendously competitive field, with many well-funded conglomerates,” David Steinberger, the company’s CEO, told the Associated Press yesterday. “Our mission is to be the preferred platform.”

Preferred is one thing, but at what price? And is being the only distribution game in town for hundreds of independent publishers a good way to do business, or will the anti-trust dogs have to be called in? Then again, let’s also remember that any deal, no matter how enticing it may seem on the surface, still has to be approved by the Delaware bankruptcy court overseeing the AMS case. And if Christopher Sontchi decides not to give his okay, then it’s back to square one for a great many publishers. Point being, no matter what happens, the news will never be entirely good – it’s really a choice between the lesser of several unsatisfactory options.

But until the deal is approved – or not – we’re left with a lot of tentative possibilities. Avalon is definitely going to Perseus, and Grove/Atlantic is pretty well on its way, too. PW Daily reported yesterday that if the court approves the proposal, PGW will continue to provide distribution services for publishers before ultimately transferring their books and operations to Perseus’s distribution facility in Jackson, Tenn. It is unclear what the long-term role for PGW staff will be in the Perseus operation. And sources also told both PW Daily and Shelf Awareness that Levy Home Entertainment, whose main business is supplying mass market outlets with books, is still working on a bid to acquire AMS’s warehouse club business. That’s because they have opened an office in San Diego and hired on several former AMS staffers, though neither AMS nor Levy confirmed the reports directly to either publication.

On the Good Ship Reading and Writing

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Over the weekend, the New York Times’ Amy Cortese looked at literary-themed cruises, a trend that’s bubbled in the background for several years now but hasn’t quite hit mainstream waters yet. Often sponsored by publishers, the cruises, aboard commercial liners, feature popular authors who give readings and seminars – even knitting lessons – to boatfuls of book lovers. The advantages are obvious, considering that the average cruise ship customer reads a lot and is older and female, which dovetails perfectly with many niches like romance, health & fitness, and thrillers.

“It’s become increasingly difficult to create and build a book and make it successful,” says Keith Fox, president of McGraw-Hill Professional, the division of the McGraw-Hill Companies that published Lynette Khalfani‘s financial advice book, THE MONEY COACH’S GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST MILLION. Literary cruises, he said, are “an opportunity for us to get our authors in front of a demographic that loves books.” And authors say the environment makes for a special experience. “You get to connect with people in a way that you never would at a bookshop, said Khalfani. “I had people stopping me in the bathroom, in the spa. I probably gave another three or four minisessions just sitting around talking shop.”

Figures are still hard to come by to determine direct correlation between cruises and sales, but book distributor Levy Home Entertainment, which organizes the Authors at Sea events, aren’t complaining. “These are not just readers; these are power readers that can really drive trends in the book business,” says John Lindsay, a vice president at Levy. Which is why Levy’s cruises are booked solid through 2008…