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The Booksource Purchases Peaceable Kingdom Press
Judith Rosen -- 6/5/00

The Booksource, a 27-year-old wholesaler to bookstores, schools and libraries, has acquired Peaceable Kingdom Press. Based in Berkeley, Calif., Peaceable Kingdom publishes greeting cards, posters and baby journals featuring art from illustrated children's books. This is the Booksource's second purchase of a specialty publisher this year. In January, it acquired TableTalk, which makes conversation-starter cards.

According to the Booksource's president, Sandy Jaffe, little will change in the day-to-day operations of 17-year-old Peaceable Kingdom. Betsy Young, director of sales and marketing, and Suellen Ehnebuske, creative director, will continue to manage the company, while founders Olivia Hurd and Thacher Hurd will serve as consultants. "We plan to preserve the culture, the approach and the type of product that Peaceable Kingdom makes. The only changes we're doing will be invisible: we'll move the inventory from Berkeley to St. Louis," noted Jaffe, who also plans on more aggressive marketing and increased product lines.

"The acquisition of Peaceable Kingdom Press furthers our plan to diversify our company. This is another attempt for us to find profitable business to support our company," Jaffe added. With the decline in the retail bookstore market, diversification for wholesalers has become even more pressing. Over the past year, both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com have significantly increased their direct buying from publishers, a strategy that Borders has long employed. The decline of independents has also taken a heavy toll on wholesalers.

Almost from the start, the Booksource has sought to diversify its retail bookstore wholesaling business. In 1978 it began servicing schools, and three years ago it added public libraries, which together comprise 40% of its wholesale income. The Booksource also offers a Vina-Clad service that turns paperbacks into hardcovers. Jaffe projects that the company's sales for 2000 will be up 15% over last year.
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