Perseus Book Group recently announced that it intends to acquire the Avalon Publishing Group, which includes the imprints Carroll & Graf, Seal Press, and Shoemaker and Hoard. Avalon is the largest client of Publishers Group West (PGW), the independent press distributor whose parent company Advanced Marketing Services (AMS) filed for bankruptcy on December 29. AMS currently owes several hundred million dollars to hundreds of commercial and independent publishers.
Perseus’s imprints include Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs, and Running Press. During the last two years it has acquired two distribution companies. Last August it bought the St. Paul-based Consortium, and in 2005 it acquired Client Distribution Services (CDS), which has been renamed Perseus Distribution Services. The integrated business now provides distribution, sales, and marketing services to such independent publishers as Akashic Books, Copper Canyon Press, and Seven Stories Press.
Announcement of the planned merger so soon after AMS’s bankruptcy has led some industry professionals to speculate that it could be the first step in a remedy for other independent presses distributed by PGW as well. Avalon chairman Charlie Winton recently told the Associated Press that he and Perseus president David Steinberger were working together to find a path “that would benefit all parties.”