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40 Years in Bay Area Distribution
Katayoon Zandvakili -- 12/15/97
San Francisco-based L-S Distributor celebrated its 40th anniversary recently with a surprise company dinner attended by several of its publishers -- and memories of a remarkably changed West Coast distribution scene.
When it was founded in 1957, the Bay Area book business consisted only of ID Wholesaler for mass market books, American News Company for hardcover books, and a very few independent bookstores, recalled L-S owner Richard Seifert. Cloth titles dominated the bookstores, and only four in the Bay Area, including Cody's and Kepler's, took paperbacks. "There were no superstores, no Ingram Book Company. There was Baker &Taylor, but it was a library, not trade, business," Seifert recalled, "and there were two East Coast companies in addition to Bookazine in New York."

In the 1960s, when ID Wholesaler and Paper Editions gave up trying to wholesale trade paperbacks, L-S Distributor took over their position. "Nobody was distributing a new format of the oversized paperback, and we saw that as a niche," Seifert recounted. In the mid-'60s, L-S Distributor selectively added mass market paperbacks and hardcover books to its list. "We grew with the format of the trade paperback, the population boom in the Bay Area and the increase in retailing," said Seifert. The company also serves the Pacific Northwest market, and has for the last 10 years.

Today, L-S Distributor carries audio books and calendars along with 35,000 titles from every major American publisher and selective small and university presses.
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