Like many distributors, BookWorld Services Inc. in Sarasota, Fla., is facing hefty returns, especially with the closing of Ingram's warehouse in Denver. "Our Ingram returns rate doubled in the second quarter of this year, to more than 50%," president Ronald Ted Smith told PW. "Since mid-May, returns are moving back to the regular levels," he added, with the caveat that he is expecting them to increase again when Ingram's Chino, Calif., warehouse closes this month. "We have our teeth clenched. We're breathing deeply, and praying not toward Mecca, but toward La Vergne," Smith quipped.

Even so, Smith estimated that "on the trade side, we're running even or a few percentage points ahead of a year ago. I don't like not being in double digits. I thought that was the way of life. But this year, matching last year or being a trifle ahead is probably a Father's Day present." BookWorld's Christian Distribution Services (CDS) is 26% ahead of last year.

To increase sales on all sides, BookWorld initiated what Smith referred to as the "Tailored Sales" program. "Before," he explained, "people had to sign up for traditional distribution—warehouse, catalogue, sell, ship and collect. That's what we do for 150-odd publishers. With Tailored Sales, we just sell." So far, the concept, which was made possible when BookWorld nearly quadrupled its sales representatives from 11 to 42 this spring, looks like it's a go. Houghton Mifflin and Shadow Mountain, an imprint of Deseret Book Company, have signed on for sales through CDS, while Christian-oriented Loyal Publishing is using BookWorld to reach the ABA, or secular, market. Other Tailored Sales accounts include Hampton Roads Publishing, Hunter Publishing and Brookfield Reader. In addition, BookWorld has added a number of traditional distribution clients, including Halo Books, Kindermusik International, Millennium Press, Wharton Publishing, Lorren Daro Productions, Struik Publishers, Saba Books, Visibooks LLC, Life Extension Media, Symphony Press, Expansion Factor and This Old Lawyer Press.

In other news, regional sales representative Anisa Evans has been named v-p of sales for BookWorld and will be relocating to Sarasota this summer.