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Publishers Group West® (PGW) is one of the largest book sales and distribution
company in the United States, representing over 100 independent
client publishers. PGW® sets the standard for integrated, full-service distribution,
provides complete digital conversion services, and is a top-ten vendor to book retailers
and wholesalers across the country. Established in 1976, PGW headquarters are located
in Berkeley, CA, with sales offices in New York City and Toronto.
- Domestic and International Sales by Seasoned Professionals
- Digital Sales, Conversion, and Distribution Services
- Marketing, Editorial, and Design Consultation
- Direct, Established Relationships with Key Retail and Wholesale Accounts
- Web-based Sales, Inventory, and Financial Reporting
- Title Management and Catalog Services
- Advertising and Publicity Management and Services
- Sales to Independent and Specialty Markets
PGW’s sales and marketing staffs provide valuable counsel for client publishers
on acquisitions, contract terms, pricing, format, and promotion strategies, as well
as with art/design/production and cover copy. Sales projections from PGW help client
publishers determine print runs and plan their seasons.
PGW’s sales staff of over 40 people includes national accounts coverage in
New York and Berkeley, a house field force, and a six-person special sales group.
Many specialty accounts are handled in house while commissioned groups are used
for gift and gourmet accounts.
PGW field reps have twice won Publisher’s Weekly’s “Rep
of the Year” award in recent years. PGW’s sales and marketing organization
is highly respected throughout the trade, and has a knack for choosing breakout
titles as well as for building bestsellers. PGW has had numerous national bestsellers
in the last ten years, five of which sold one million copies or more.
The Berkeley-based sales team manages nearly half of all U.S. sales generated by
PGW, including major accounts such as Amazon.com, Ingram, Costco and other ‘club’
retailers, regional retail chains, regional wholesalers, and airport stores. Most
of PGW clients’ special sales are also generated by this group, either through a
direct relationship with accounts or through PGW’s network of over 100 commission
reps selling to gift and specialty stores.
New York Office
PGW’s New York office manages the major retail chains
and key national accounts, including Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and
Books-a-Million, as well as international sales. As the epicenter of the book publishing
industry and the location of many of PGW’s clients, the New York office also serves
as a center for acquisitions, marketing meetings, consultation, and other PGW activities
Online Publisher Services
The Helix Publisher Portal
is PGW’s online reporting site where publishers go for information on sales, inventory,
monthly statements, and other financial information, and to upload new title information
and artwork. It also has a comprehensive reference section, which includes detailed
information about PGW’s sales teams, deadlines, requirements, schedules of trade
shows and events, and much more. In addition, weekly Publisher Updates and other
important information are posted on the home page of Helix.
The marketing department at PGW is a dynamic and integral part of the distribution
enterprise and the hub of activity for a client publisher’s day-to-day needs. With
primary publisher relations divided between five account managers, publishers receive
the focused time and attention they need to help them run their businesses.
Account managers act as consultants and advocates to the publisher clients. They
advise publishers on topics ranging from packaging and pricing issues to marketing
plans and sales trend analysis. They also work closely with the sales department
and its various divisions to assist them in the overall sales process.
In addition to daily contact with publishers by phone and email, account managers
coordinate seasonal marketing meetings with publishers (three times a year). The
agenda at these meetings includes a comprehensive year-to-year review of the publisher’s
sales in all channels, analysis of market trends, formulation of backlist sales
goals, and sales projections of new titles. For the meetings, publishers craft their
own individualized agenda items to discuss, give new title presentations, and lead
a strategy session of their overall program. In attendance at a typical marketing
meeting would be some of the following people:
- Account Manager
- Vice President of Sales
- Vice President of Field Sales
- National Accounts Director and Managers
- Director of PGKids
- Director and Manager of Special Sales
- Manager of Mass Merchandise Accounts
- Sales and Marketing Assistants
Also part of marketing is the catalog department.
The catalog department represents one of PGW's most effective organizing
tools. Each season the catalog department coordinates all of the new seasonal titles
announced by publishers and manages the writing, editing, graphics, and printing
of the main adult PGW catalog and various seasonal subject catalogs. A few large
publishers produce their own catalog and the catalog department manages the database
work and is in close contact with self-cataloged publishers to help them meet the
needs of the PGW sales group.
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The advertising department at PGW works closely with the publishers, account managers,
and the various sales divisions to coordinate book trade advertising and account
promotional activity. They advise publishers on the selection of appropriate advertising
vehicles and handle the booking for all ads.
The marketing department is responsible for administering and coordinating PGW’s
publicity programs and databases in addition to acting as a resource to client publishers
for other publicity.
One of the advertising department’s main functions is obtaining approvals
for co-op requests. These requests include the following: in-store promotions, display
ads with wholesalers and/or in trade magazines, online promotions, author signings,
and newsletters. In most cases, either the account or the publisher requests approval.
- A bookstore is having an author event and is asking for co-op money to support event
costs (advertising in local venues, window and in-store displays, newsletters, mailings,
postcards, flyers, etc.)
- A bookstore wants to feature a PGW title in a display or newsletter
- A national account wants to include a title in a nationwide display promotion
- A publisher might want to find a way to promote book(s) at an account and may ask
for advertising’s help in realizing this
- A publisher wants to place a print ad in a trade publication and asks PGW to place
the reservation and to approve co-op participation
Author event co-op requests can vary greatly — some accounts may
ask for $700, while others ask for $100. The average author event receives $150
to $200 in co-op support. PGW receives the request from the bookstore and then contacts
the publisher for approval. The exception would be national account tours; these
charges are typically combined with buys and static fees, and are non-negotiable.
Pre-Approved Newsletter Co-Op
The newsletter co-op program was established in 1995. Generally, publishers
grant co-op to bookstores with store-produced newsletters at the levels of $50 (positive
review) and $80 (positive review with jacket). As an added incentive accounts do
not have to ask for the co-op in advance. The main requirement is that they send
in the newsletter and the appropriate form within 90 days. Other restrictions are
listed on the form. Not all publishers participate in the program. (PGW currently
has approximately 40 participating publishers.) If an account claims co-op for a
nonparticipating publisher, the request is treated as a standard co-op request and
goes to the publisher for approval.
Advertising in Wholesaler Venues
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Often a wholesaler will suggest an appropriate advertising venue for a title or
publisher. If the sales rep agrees, advertising will ask the publisher if they would
like to participate. Sometimes the publisher approaches PGW with interest in placing
an ad in a wholesaler venue.