The Latest in AMS

  • At Galleycat, Sarah has enlisted the help of Scrivener’s Error author C.E. Petit to explain what the possible Perseus deal means. Petit compares the speculative merger quite rightly to the vertical integration once practiced by the movie studios. Back in 1945, the Justice Department cracked down on the Big Eight studios, who not only made the movies but also owned the theatres in which their films were distributed. This, of course, left independent producers in the lurch. Because Paramount and company had a vested interest in keeping their product circulating, it was clear that independent producers who weren’t operating under the Big Eight umbrella were placed on a second-tier. Since Perseus is also a huge publishing outfit, one wonders whether Perseus will do something similar, should a PGW buyout go down. After all, if Perseus is laying down a sizable chunk of change, the company is going to want to protect its investment. It’s quite possible that this means giving the minority of table placement to the indies, if any at all.
  • The usually sharp Sara Nelson has a remarkably obtuse editorial about AMS. Nelson is mystified by why everyone is talking about AMS, concluding that the “economy of scale” “may help editors stop worrying about how to get books out, and go back to what they do best: focusing on how to get them in.” Soft Skull publisher Richard Nash responds , observing that Perseus “up until three years ago, knew little about distribution” and observing that “[t]he Perseus catalog is going to be the size of a telephone directory–that is not going to help retailers and it is not going to help publishers.”
  • In today’s PW, Jim Milliot reports that Simon & Schuster lost a bid on $5 million in inventory. He also offers a second story, with sparse reactions on the potential Perseus buyout. In the latter article, Black Classics Press head Paul Coates says that the 70 cents on the dollar offer would only work with current PGW staff in place.
  • What does Radio Free PGW think of all this? Holograms of PGW employees are the only option.
  • The story has finally hit the AP, with Grove/Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin opining that the Perseus deal could give indies more leverage, and The Wall Street Journal (the story is behind a paywall).

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