Eric Miller

Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.

While working on this issue, I was struck by two things. The first was the comment by Eric Miller, president of the National Association of Independent Reps (NAIPR), in Gene Schwartz’s column “Deconstructing Distribution” (page 34), about why many people in the book publishing industry persist despite facing many significant challenges. “To have a bookstore is part of the American dream,” he said. Shortly after reading his comment, I stumbled upon another very powerful quote along similar lines on the Web site for Independent Publisher magazine (formerly called Small Press). In the magazine’s first issue in 1983, Allan Kornblum, founder and publisher of Coffee

The recent collapse of San Diego-based wholesaler Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), and its distribution subsidiary that it took down with it—the much esteemed Publishers Group West (PGW) that it acquired only five years ago—reminded me of the remarkable way in which our industry sorts through 180,000 new titles a year and the millions more in print. Somehow, in a timely manner, the industry moves books into stores, superstores, specialty stores and gift shops, big-box discounters, grocery and drug store chains, and libraries of all kinds—aggregating more than 100,000 accounts that someone has to bill and collect on. Dramatic though the PGW collapse is, drilling

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