Friday, 12 January 2007

Avalon Publishing to be acquired by Perseus Books

Avalon Publishing Group — which includes the publisher of my Practical Nomad books, Avalon Travel Publishing — has announced that they are to be acquired by Perseus Books Group .

This should have no affect on readers or buyers of my books, and hopefully will have little effect on me (and maybe even positive effect). But in case anyone is curious, here’s the story:

My books are published by Avalon Travel Publishing (a division of the Avalon Publishing Group), and distributed to bookstores and other outlets by Publishers Group West (a division of Advanced Marketing Services).

On 29 December 2006, Advanced Marketing Services filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors — mainly book publishers — while it attempts to reorganize.

My publisher, Avalon Publishing Group, is reportedly owed US$2.3 million . Other publishers large and small are also owed money for books already sold, but for which the publishers haven’t yet been paid. Publishers, including mine, are likely to have to write off most of those receivables.

Rather than maintain its own warehouse, Avalon also contracts with AMS to store Avalon’s inventory of books. Avalon owns the books, but they are in AMS’s warehouses. Custody of that inventory, along with that of other publishers, has become one of the first contested issues in the bankruptcy court proceedings.

All of this severely strains publishers, especially small publishers who can’t afford to lose millions of dollars in receivables or inventory, or have their books be unavailable until they print new copies and arrange new distribution channels.

I’m not privy to any of the details, but I presume that it’s at least in part in response to this crisis that Avalon has cut a deal with a company with, I hope, deeper pockets to weather the storm, and the ability to provide its own distribution services for Avalon books.

For now, AMS is continuing to operate in bankruptcy, and I’ve been told my books are still being shipped to bookstores. I’ve been assured that my books will continue to be published on schedule, and that I’ll still be paid my royalties for sales of my books (which are a minority of my total writing and consulting income anyway).

If you or your bookstore are having any trouble ordering or receiving my books, please contact Avalon Travel Publishing or let me know directly.

Unlike some writers, I’ve had an excellent relationship with my publisher. I’ve had a different editor for each edition of each of my books, but that’s actually been a benefit: each has brought a different perspective and improved my books in different ways. Despite a series of mergers, acquisitions, spinoffs, and name changes, I’m still dealing with the same person as publisher of Avalon Travel — Bill Newlin — who first invited me to write for what was then the Moon guidebook series, and came up with the title, “The Practical Nomad”.

Now back to my room to finish work on the 4th edition of “The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World”. Don’t expect to see much if anything more from me until next month.

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 12 January 2007, 14:10 ( 2:10 PM)

Hi Edward,

Love your blog! I've been thinking about pitching to ATP for their Living Abroad series or anything on Turkey for about 2 years now, but haven't had ample time to dedicate to this kind of project. But I feel that I am ready now and wanted to get around to pitching this month, but -- lo and behold -- its acquisition by Perseus might not be in my favor.
What do you think? Any tips on pitching to them? Or any feedback on how a Living Abroad in Turkey title would fare among its competitions? Oh, and do you have the name of an editor on whose desk my query might fall on.
Thanks a bunch and have a great year!

Yours truly,
Jessica Tamturk

Posted by: Jessica Tamturk, 17 January 2007, 08:59 ( 8:59 AM)

Jessica -- Thanks for your comment.

ATP writers guidelines and instructions on how to submit book proposals are at:

I wouldn't let the ownership and distribution changes stand in the way of pitching ATP. I'm continuing to work on the next edition of "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World". I'm working with the same editor and publisher, and just received my latest royalty check. Nothing has changed for me so far.

Feel free to contact me directly (but please wait under after 5 February 2007, when I'll have turned the manuscript over to my editor) if you want to talk more if you want to talk more about writing for ATP.


Edward Hasbrouck

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 22 January 2007, 06:32 ( 6:32 AM)

Hi Edward,
I like your blog.
I had pitched to the ATP in late August last year. They said there would be a decision in 2 - 4 months. Then in January, they told me that they would make the decison by March. But I didn't get it yet. Could you please tell me if my pitch still have a chance to win?
Thanks a lot,
Jason Chen

Posted by: Jason Chen, 2 April 2007, 17:18 ( 5:18 PM)

Lucky, you for having a good relationship with your publisher...mine is harder to reach than the Pope.

Posted by: Anonymous, 24 June 2010, 10:02 (10:02 AM)
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