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Statement from Partners Book Distributing Regarding Closure

Saturday, August 13, 2016   (5 Comments)
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By Angela Bole (for IBPA) --

On March 30, 2016 the IBPA office learned via Publishing Weekly that Partners Book Distributing was closing and that shipping of orders would stop as of close of business on April 1, 2016. The notice read, in part: “After 32 years, Partners Book Distributing will stop shipping orders on Friday, April 1. A single company, founded by Vicky Eaves and Sam Speigel, which operated as two separate regional wholesalers—Partners/East in Holt, Mich., and Partners/West in Renton, Wash., Partners served as a key wholesaler in the West and Midwest. Partners also offered distribution to small presses."

After reading the notice and doing some follow-up, we learned that many of Partners’ small press clients also learned about the closing from news media or colleagues before hearing about it from Partners themselves. A member emailed just this morning, for example, saying he had received a phone call from someone at Partners East today, checking on their return address. This was the first he’d heard that Partners is closed and he wondered if we had any information. In addition, other members have reached out over the past week letting us know they’ve received no information about how to pick up books still in Partners’ system and asking if we might help them find out what’s going on.

Today, we reached out to Sam and Sara Speigel for a statement we could share with the IBPA community. We explained the situation above and asked their advice on what to tell IBPA members about how to set their exceptions through the transition. The rumor mill had it, for example, that Midpoint agreed to take on all Partners’ publishers. If this wasn’t true, we wanted to quiet these rumors.

Here is the statement the IBPA office received from Sam and Sara Speigel this morning:

"We are in the process of reconciling accounts and returning books. Letters will go out to all publishers soon. There is much confusion between the wholesale division (Partners East and Partners West) and the distribution division (Partners Publishers Group-PPG). At this time, only the PPG publishers are transitioning to Midpoint Trade and then only if they reach an agreement with Midpoint Trade. Letters have already gone out to PPG publishers regarding this option. Midpoint will be contacting them soon."

We then asked:

"And what of the publishers who tell us they have physical inventory housed with Partners East and/or Partners West and are unable to find out what will be done with it? Will you be shipping this inventory back to each publisher? Will this be at your expense? Or their expense? When should they expect to receive details on this? Or, has all this already been communicated and there’s a place on your website (or elsewhere) where I can point people?"

To which Partners replied:

"We already addressed much of this in the statement sent. Individual arrangements will be made with each publisher."

This is all the information IBPA has at this time. We will keep the IBPA community looped into further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, please feel free to post any comments or feedback here for others to view and consider.

On a personal note, I wish the folks at Partners best of luck as they move things forward. They have traditionally provided great support to indie presses and bookstores alike. One less small press distributor is certainly a loss for our industry.


Administration says...
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016
D & H PUBLISHING CO (September 7, 2016 -- carried over from IBPA's previous website): "Sorry to hear of your closing. In my last contact by telephone some books were returned. Time was given for vendors to return or keep books in their possession. Finally, since the “closing process requires twelve (12) months” it appears that we are about at that time. Please advise regarding the final closing of my account with you. Thank you, L. Dale Redlin D&H Publishing Co."
Administration says...
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016
BARBARA WHITAKER (July 18, 2016 - carried over from IBPA's previous website): "I have made numerous phone calls to Partners/West since learning of their closure; received NO written communication from them about it; and have only been able to leave repeated voicemail messages, as nobody is answering their phones. As of July 18, I have received absolutely zero payment for books already sold and documented by Partners in their sporadic sales reports. The only direct communication I’ve had from them this entire year was a phone call from one of their representatives asking if I wanted my remaining book inventory shipped back here. I said no, just please pay me the outstanding balance already owed. So far, nada. Has this happened to any other small publishers?"
Administration says...
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016
NANCY CURTIS (June 2, 2016 -- carried over from IBPA's previous website): "I want to update my remarks above and say that we did receive our inventory back from Partners West and last week we received a check for the the balance of what they owed us. They are square with us."
Administration says...
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016
EC MURRAY (May 17, 2016 -- carried over from IBPA's previous website): "I also have heard nothing from Partners either about my inventory of books or the money they owe-nonetheless that they had closed. It sounds like the Publishers Weekly was all information many of us received."
Administration says...
Posted Monday, October 3, 2016
NANCY CURTIS (April 15, 2016 -- carried over from IBPA's previous website): "We have heard nothing from Partners West. No letter, no phone call, no email. Please keep pursuing this."

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