Red Wheel/Weiser, the independent publisher formed in November 2000 following the purchase of Samuel Weiser Inc. (News, Dec. 11, 2000), has sold its distribution arm, Weiser Wholesale, to Phoenix Publishing/Phoenix Distributors of Blaine, Wash. The distribution division was formed in 1959 and carries 2,500 titles in the metaphysical and occult fields from more than 200 publishers.

The sale of Weiser Wholesale coincides with another major change made by Red Wheel/ Weiser in its distribution side, which took effect January 2. The company closed its small York, Maine, warehouse and outsourced its warehousing and shipping functions to Books International in Dulles, Va. "We physically couldn't keep up with the orders" at York, explained Chris Wold, director of sales and marketing for RW/Weiser. Five jobs were eliminated in the outsourcing, but all other back-end operations will continue to be performed at York. The two changes "will allow us to fully concentrate on growing the publishing business," said RW/Weiser publisher Jan Johnson.

Johnson, along with Michael Kerber, formed New Boston Partners to acquire Samuel Weiser. The company launched the Red Wheel imprint last April and the list, which focuses on more mainstream spiritual self-help titles than the esoteric Weiser line, has received a good response from the trade, Wold said. Total company sales were up about 15% in 2001, and the publisher expects to publish between 70 and 80 titles in 2002, split evenly between the two imprints.