Publishers Weekly Meeting of Independent Press Distributors
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Last December, Publishers Weekly hosted at their New York office a meeting
of the major independent press distributors. Many of us who have worked in
this area were very pleased by this attention from PW, even if we felt it was
a few years overdue.
A cynic might suppose that the large number of ad pages regularly purchased
by independent trade distributors, and the large amount of floor space bought
by them at what used to be called the ABA Convention (PW‘s parent company now
owns 100% of the show) may be sufficient to explain this heightened interest.
The truth of the matter is more complicated. Part of it is that news of the
growing importance of independent publishing has finally and definitively
crossed the Hudson River. What we do as publishers and distributors is no
longer just an amusing frill around the edge of the fabric of the publishing
business but a significant part of the main design. PW now thoroughly
understands this fact, and it should be noted that the staffers there are
deeply committed to books as books, not just books as commerce.But what really gave some edge to PW‘s interest in independent press
distribution is the current condition of Big Publishing, which is in BIG
TROUBLE. “How were we distributors,”PW wanted to know, “attempting to deal
with the catastrophic level of returned books, the closings of the small
stores, the rocky condition of some of the large customers, the general
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