Western Edge Press, in Santa Fe, N.Mex., has acquired Sherman Asher Publishing, also of Santa Fe. Sherman Asher has a backlist of some 35 titles centered on poetry, and the purchase will triple the size of Western Edge. "I was growing one book at a time and that's too slow, so when the opportunity to buy Sherman Asher came along, I took it," said Jim Mafchir, publisher of Western Edge.

Western Edge's list focuses mainly on western regional titles, and Mafchir notes that the Asher purchase brings the company into new publishing areas that include fiction and general nonfiction as well as poetry. Because of the differences in the lists, Mafchir plans to retain the Sherman Asher name as an imprint and has brought on board Asher editor Nancy Fay. And at least for the time being, the Western Edge and Asher lines will be distributed by separate companies. Mountain Press, which distributes Western Edge, did not think Asher fit its profile, so Mafchir will "self-distribute" the Asher list. Asher joined the LPC Group two months before the distributor went out of business and had been scrambling for distribution since. "I've been talking to distributors, but distributing the list myself will give me a chance to know my customers," Mafchir said.