Tandem Verlag has agreed to acquire the remaining assets of bankrupt German promotional books publisher Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft, in a deal that will keep the Konemann name alive and prevent millions of books from being dumped into the market at cut-rate prices.

"It was a long fight, a three-year fight," said founder and publisher Ludwig Konemann. "In the end it was a very good outcome." Konemann, founded in 1993, filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2001. In August 2002, it began court proceedings to dissolve the company.

Tandem has been buying up Konemann's rights, stock and titles for months, but the industry had begun to worry that the deteriorating publisher's remaining stock could end up flooding the market at prices its competitors couldn't match. In a deal reached with court-appointed administrator Paul Gross, Tandem will acquire numerous rights and all the bankrupt publisher's remaining stock, which will be sold at regular retail prices.

"Obviously, the market itself as well as other publishers were protected by this fusion with Tandem, because these books weren't dumped on the market," said Konemann's head of international sales, Janice Roseberry. Roseberry, who is currently based in Germany, will continue to sell Konemann's titles to U.S. retailers.

Books will continue to be published under the Konemann imprint. The publisher's 10 remaining employees, including Ludwig Konemann, will run the imprint as a separate division of Tandem. "Nothing was wrong with the books and nothing was wrong with the customers, so why should we change it?" said Konemann, who attributed the company's financial problems to too rapid growth and serious problems with its warehouse, from which books were being shipped to the wrong customers. He said those problems will be solved now that the company's books will be handled by Tandem's distributor, VVA, a division of Bertelsmann.