After seven years with Publishers Group West, the Taunton Press is moving its sales and distribution to Random House, effective June 1. But PGW has added LearningExpress to its client list, and the Avalon Publishing Group, which had been thinking of starting its own national sales force, is keeping its ties with the distributor intact.

Jim Childs, publisher of Taunton, said he was impressed with Random's sales reach, especially into special markets. "PGW did a terrific job for us in the first stage of our development, but I believe Random House is the right partner as we grow our program," Childs said. Taunton, which is one of PGW's major client publishers, will publish 55 titles in 2005 in the house and home segment. Childs said he wasn't worried about getting lost in the Random House sales bag. "I feel like we will be treated like one of their imprints," Childs said.

While PGW is losing Taunton, it has signed up LearningExpress, the publisher of a wide range of test prep materials. LearningExpress president Barry Lippman said the move to PGW "is a way to broaden our reach into bookstores." The company's products had been distributed by Thomson Delmar Learning. Lippman said while LearningExpress's books, guides and online products have done well in the institutional market, it is looking to increase its presence in the consumer market. PGW took over the trade distribution January 1.

Avalon publisher Charlie Winton confirmed that the company had explored the idea of forming its own national sales force, but abandoned the idea when PGW promised to hire two reps for Borders and B&N that will sell only Avalon titles. Winton said the new approach will allow the publisher to continue with the same systems and minimize its own costs while getting more dedicated attention at Borders and B&N.