July 29, 2014

Baker & Taylor Owner Buys Bookmasters; Companies Form Strategic Partnership

Major distributor Baker & Taylor will offer publisher services to its customers via a new strategic partnership with Bookmasters, the company announced on July 10.

“We look forward to working with Baker & Taylor to build value and to become a leader in the publisher services industry,” Dave Wurster, CEO of Bookmasters, said in a statement.

Baker & Taylor will offer its customers access to all of Bookmasters’ services, including  print-on-demand and short run digital printing, offset printing and binding in a range of formats, content and editorial services, ebook conversion and distribution, publisher distribution services and third-party fulfillment, and book sales and marketing services.

“The book industry is going through periods of unprecedented change with the migration to digital. We see remarkable opportunities for the entire publishing supply chain to reduce costs while improving service levels to customers,” David Cully, President of Retail Markets and Executive VP of Merchandising for Baker & Taylor, said in a statement.

The move comes as private equity firm Castle Harlan acquired Bookmasters; that purchase was also announced yesterday. Castle Harlan had previously acquired Baker & Taylor in July 2006 for about $455 million.

Some media sources initially reported a merger of the two companies, but that’s not the case. Though owned by the same investor, the two companies remain independent. “‘Merger’ is just so wrong,’ Baker & Taylor CEO and President Arnie Wight told LJ. “It is an arms-length commercial agreement. We will use them as an outsourced agent.”

White explained that Baker & Taylor had already offered some of these services and used a variety of third parties to do so. Now, in addition to expanding the range of offerings, “we’ll be able to consolidate and use Bookmasters for everything,” he added.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Senior Editor, News and Features of Library Journal.

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