In a move to allow it to focus on its core competencies of sales and marketing, the LPC Group has formed an alliance with Client Distribution Services under which CDS will handle all warehousing, order fulfillment and billing services for LPC.

Economies of scale were cited by both LPC president David Wilk and CDS vice-president Steve Black as the primary reason for the deal. Wilk noted that as the entire book industry has become more consolidated, "size matters," particularly when it comes to the actual warehousing and shipping of books. "We've been telling publishers for years to focus on their core competencies, so now we're following our own advice," Wilk said. Black observed that CDS has a large back-office infrastructure "that can do a lot of things very well," and added that the needs of LPC "dovetailed with what we can do." This is the first back-office arrangement CDS has made with another distributor, but Black said the company is open to talking to other companies about a similar deal.

As a result of the alliance, LPC will close its Chicago office and warehouse and relocate its corporate headquarters to LPC's Milford, Conn., office. Approximately 45 people work in the Chicago area and Wilk said it had not yet been determined how many may move to Connecticut, where there are nine employees. Wilk insisted that the deal will strengthen LPC's ability to provide better sales, marketing and strategic services to the company's clients. LPC has added nearly 20 new publishers this year and is looking to add more. "We're not standing still. We're moving forward," Wilk told PW. LPC is shipping its fall titles from its existing warehouse. CDS will assume responsibility for shipping and billing November 1.