The flap between the Publishers Marketing Association and the rebinding company Sagebrush Corp. has been settled. The two sides had been negotiating an agreement since last summer, when PMA first raised concerns that Sagebrush's practice of issuing new ISBNs for other publishers' paperback books that it rebound for the school library market was causing confusion among consumers (News, Aug. 16, 2004).
Under the agreement, Sagebrush has agreed to get a publisher's permission before it rebinds its titles. Permission can be granted on either a title-by-title basis or for an entire list, with exemptions made to limit the distribution channels through which Sagebrush could distribute its products. The new policy will permit Sagebrush to work with publishers to determine if the rebound book should carry the ISBN issued by the publisher or use the ISBN issued by Sagebrush. Publishers can ask that their name and/or logo be duplicated on the rebound cover.
Publishers had complained that Sagebrush's practice of issuing new ISBNs on its rebound editions without the permission of the original publisher confused buyers when those books were made available for sale over the Internet and competed for sales with the paperback edition. PMA head Jan Nathan said that while she did not expect the settlement to result in a boost in sales, she hopes it will make publishers aware of the opportunities that exist in the school library market. "One of the hardest things for a small publisher is to understand where your sales are going," Nathan said.
Nathan praised Sagebrush for settling the issue and said PMA will be contacting other rebinding companies about reaching a similar agreement.