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SPD Names New Director, Launches Online Bookstore
Roxane Farmanfarmaian -- 6/5/00

Small Press Distribution, a nonprofit, literary wholesaler based in Berkeley, Calif., has hired Donald E. Knaub, formerly director of Wichita State University's Ulrich Museum of Art, as its new executive director. Knaub replaces Heather Peeler, who left SPD last November to join Varsity-Books.com.

Knaub's appointment closely follows three organizational developments at SPD. In May, the distributor launched an online bookstore by revamping its Web site (www.spdbooks.org) and now offers secure online ordering. The bookstore posts a bestseller list that differs from other lists in that it is based on SPD's own sales figures for its 8,000 titles. "Our annotated catalogue features authors that would be hard to find on Amazon.com," said SPD's Emily Grossman. In addition to offering the normal search mechanisms (e.g., by author), the site offers searches by author ethnicity or orientation, such as "African" or "Gay-Lesbian." Complementing its move to provide e-commerce for readers, SPD also went live on Pubnet in May. "This takes us to the next level for our publishers and booksellers," interim executive director Nick Sedka told PW.

Finally, SPD is formalizing plans for a joint marketing project with fellow distributor Consortium. The idea of working together began at a SPD meeting in January for independent presses that Consortium president Randall Beck attended. Both companies will undertake major cross-promotion on their Web sites, and they are planning to share expertise. "Consortium will learn from SPD how we've marketed independent presses to libraries, while we will be able to use Consortium's expertise and reps to promote SPD's titles," explained Sedka.
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