Boston-based publisher Red Wheel/Weiser has joined the Oakland, Calif., wholesaler Bookpeople's Featured Publisher Program. Mike Kerber, president of Red Wheel, said the Bookpeople program will augment his company's own sales efforts, particularly on the West Coast, where Red Wheel's Conari Press imprint titles have done very well. Red Wheel bought Conari last summer and integrated the former California publisher's operations into its own. It also took over distribution from Publishers Group West March 1. "West Coast accounts have been very supportive of Conari, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to continue to order their titles," Kerber told PW.

Red Wheel is the 12th publisher to join the Bookpeople program, through which the wholesaler's sales staff sells and markets client titles to its accounts and gives bookstores a higher discount. Bookpeople will have access to the entire Red Wheel backlist of 700 titles.

The agreement with Bookpeople is just the latest move by Kerber to increase sales. The company has seen solid gains in the gift market this year following the addition of a commissioned rep group that specializes in the gift store market. And Red Wheel can use a sales boost from any place it can find it. Kerber said that after "a rough six months, last month was the first time I began to feel confidence in the market again." He said returns from the Conari imprint had been higher than expected, but that things have settled down. "I think we're back on track," he said.