Book Business EXTRA! Q&A -- The President and Publisher of Lerner Publishing Group Talks About Becoming the Exclusive Distributor for The Kane Press
After the recent announcement that the independent Minneapolis-based Lerner Publishing Group would be the exclusive distributor for New York-based The Kane Press, Book Business EXTRA! chatted with Adam Lerner, the president and publisher of Lerner Publishing Group, about the deal, the company’s history in distribution, and the benefits in controlling the publishing process of your own titles from start to finish.
Book Business EXTRA! -- What benefits has Lerner Publishing found in distributing its own titles since 1959?
Adam Lerner -- We have always developed, produced, warehoused and shipped our own titles. It has always been important for us to have control of the publishing process from start to finish. As we’ve grown, we have expanded the channels through which our books are sold, from direct mail and independent sales reps to industry distributors, wholesalers, trade and special sales accounts. With 47 years of experience in the school and library marketplace, we have a strong reputation for quality and solid relationships with all of our vendors.
EXTRA! -- For Lerner, what is the ultimate end goal of bringing smaller publishers on-board to distribute their titles, but not incorporate them as an imprint of your group?
Lerner -- We have no plans to acquire the companies that we are distributing. We consider our relationships with these companies strong partnerships, as their high-quality product lines complement the products that we produce. With our large, diverse customer base, sales forces and infrastructure, we are able to bring terrific value to our distributed partners.
EXTRA! -- What’s some advice in the realm of distribution that other publishers may benefit from?
Lerner -- To partner only with publishers that you personally trust and whose books you would consider your own.
EXTRA! -- Both Kane Press and Darby Creek Publishing produce El-Hi titles just as your company does. What are pluses/minuses of working to distribute books of a similar audience of your own titles?
Lerner -- Both of our partners have unique approaches that are quite different than ours, yet their products work well in the same markets we serve. Kane Press produces fiction books with curricular connections; Darby Creek Publishing has their own take on producing top-notch fiction and nonfiction single titles. By adding these lines to our own, we are able to offer complementary titles to our customers.
EXTRA! -- What’s the biggest challenge in book distribution? How are you addressing it?
Lerner -- The biggest challenge is really communication—making sure we work together to explore sales and revenue opportunities, and maximize returns for all of our partners.