Attorneys for Longstreet Press are winding down the company's operation following the decision by owner Scott Bard to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this past summer. Bard, who acquired Longstreet in 1999, said Longstreet's problems began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when sales fell and returns skyrocketed. Bard had assembled a large list for fall 2001 and made significant payments to authors and printers, but with the media focus on 9/11, sales fizzled. With returns of about 70% in early 2002, "my capital eroded," Bard said. "I just kept falling behind." Bard said that after paying debt service and what he could to suppliers and vendors, he had little money left to invest in new projects. "I couldn't develop a list to keep going," he said. In its bankruptcy filing, Longstreet listed assets of less than $50,000 and debts of more than $1 million. "I probably hung on for two more years than I should have," Bard said. "I didn't want to let people down."

In an effort to keep going, Longstreet had assigned the rights to about 100 titles to National Book Network, its distributor. NBN president Jed Lyons said the company continues to sell some titles and reprint others, all under the Longstreet name. But even with those sales, NBN will not recoup what it was owed, Lyons said. Other creditors include a host of printers and manufacturers, along with Thomas Stanley and William Danko, authors of one of Longstreet's most successful books, The Millionaire Next Door.

Founded in 1988 by Chuck Perry, Longstreet quickly developed a list that featured books by and about the South. Early hits included Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be a Redneck If... and several humor books by Lewis Grizzard. Other prominent Southerners published by the house included Hamilton Jordan and Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden.

Bard, who worked as Longstreet's marketing director before buying the company, said it is unlikely he will start another publishing house. "A lot has changed in 10 years. The business is really tough."