Saturday, January 06, 2007


All Books Now Have a Chapter 11

This week brought an unpleasant surprise:

Book publishers braced themselves for a financial blow this week after a bankruptcy filing by Advanced Marketing Services, a book distributor. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last Friday, reporting more than $200 million in debt to dozens of publishing companies. Its creditors included publishers large and small, among them Random House, which is owed $43.3 million, and Good Books of Intercourse, Pa.., which specializes in books about the Amish and the Mennonites and is owed nearly $1 million.

Incredibly -- okay, not that incredibly -- yesterday's Times coverage (days late and buried on page 3 of the business section) seems to have missed the real story, which is that small indy publishers are liable to take it on the chin. The AMS bankruptcy filing only lists a hit parade of their top 40 creditors, but even at #40 it's still at $630k in amounts owed. Innumerable small publishers working with AMS and their subsidiary PGW -- just about every good small publisher you've ever heard of -- woke up in the street on New Year's morning with their clothes missing and a pair of black eyes.

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