Following the Booksource's decision to exit retail distribution by the end of the year, Bookazine, based in Bayonne, N.J., has announced plans to fill the gap. "We feel the need for an independent wholesaler to service retailers in the region," said CEO Robert Kallman. To smooth the transition, Bookazine hired former Booksource sales rep Rory Flynn, who will join the company at the end of next month. In addition, the company is expanding its title base, which is now at 65,000, and plans to add an additional 5,000 regional Midwest titles.

Although Bookazine is a national wholesaler, the core of its business has long been in the Northeast. "Over the last two years, our growth into the South has been really significant. And this is a logical move," Kathleen Willoughby, v-p of marketing and online development, told PW. To get the word out about the initiative, the company plans to do bookseller mailings and to work closely with both the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes Booksellers Associations. According to executive v-p Richard Kallman, Bookazine has no plans to add a Midwest warehouse, although it hopes to improve the current shipping time of two to three days.

In other news, Richard Kallman said that Bookazine signed a multiyear contract to service all the airport bookstores in the Hudson Group, the country's largest transportation retailer. Bookazine has been in the airport business since the early 1980s and serviced airport bookstores for WH Smith.