The consolidation juggernaut barrels on -- two major distributors of audiobooks to the truck-stop and travel-center market have been acquired and consolidated by a general nonfoods distributor. Southeastern Tape Distributors of Alpharetta, Ga., which distributed audiobooks to 2000 locations, and Book n Along of Jefferson, Mo., with 1000 accounts, have been purchased for an undisclosed sum by Barjan Products of East Moline, Ill.

Steve Huber, president of Barjan Products, which provides 6000 different products to 3000 accounts, commented, "These are companies that we've known and worked with for years. They had complementary products and served the same customer base." . He added that Barjan's business "is consolidating, the retailers are getting bigger, and our three companies felt we could service the customers better together than separately."

Gerald Ratcliff, v-p of operations for Book n Along, said, "It got down to three players in the market, and we thought with Barjan's resources, we would have the ability to grow the company faster."

Southeastern Tape executives Marc Chary and Steve Kuranoff will continue with Barjan as, respectively, sales and marketing consultant and purchasing and operations consultant. Book n Along owner Don Paddock will move over to Barjan as a national accounts executive. Ratcliff will join the company as a senior buyer. All of the sales representatives from Southeastern and Book n Along will join Barjan. "We don't plan any changes, and customers will still receive the same high level of service," stated Huber.

In August, Barjan will consolidate its entertainment products operations, including audiobooks, in a new 21,500-sq.-ft. facility in Moline, Ill., under the name Barjan Entertainment. In addition, Barjan will build a 230,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and headquarters in Rock Island, Ill. Construction is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of the year 2000.