Some interesting documents from a BSP distributor (1 Viewer)

mjp

Founding member
These come from a forum member who was the exclusive representative of BSP to the book trade in the mid-Atlantic (New York City to Washington, DC) territory. Maybe you'll find some of these interesting.

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Nice letters; it's always good to read about the more behind-the-scenes stuff. I was a bit surprised to read the address on the first letter - I grep up just a couple of miles from there.

If you read the first letter, mjp, John Martin specifically excluded NYC from this seller's territory.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
From May 1st 2002 I wonder how long it took JM to decide to close BSP?

Good stuff, thanks.
 

mjp

Founding member
If you read the first letter, mjp, John Martin specifically excluded NYC from this seller's territory.
Yeah, I'm going by what Mr. Whitaker told me. Maybe they got NYC after proving their worth everywhere around it. Who knows. 30 years is a long time.

From May 1st 2002 I wonder how long it took JM to decide to close BSP?
Probably about 10 minutes. ;)

I think bringing up "9/11" is a cop-out, and I was surprised to read him claim that as one of the deciding factors.

As he said, he was 71 years old, Bukowski was long dead, where to go? I know he published hundreds of writers, but no Bukowski = no BSP, period. Closing up shop was inevitable. He must have felt like he won the lottery when the interest came from HarperCollins.

That's my take, it's not anything I heard first hand.
 
Just a few notes to clear up some questioned details in this forum:

1. I started my publishing career with Little, Brown & Co. in New York City then Boston, MA in 1964 and resigned as their National Sales Manager to start my own venture in 1971 in the Midwest. I expanded my business from the Midwest to include the Southeast, Southwest and, eventually in 1976, the mid-Atlantic territory. The mid-Atlantic territory proved to be so highly successful that I sold the other three territories to an associate and moved to Gaithersburg, MD in 1979. JM and the BSP were continuous publisher-clients throughout the 30 plus years in all territories. There was never a break in representation with WJW Associates, Inc.

2. The Noel Young letter of JM re Noel's Capra Press and our representation thereof referred to in the NM archives, http://elibrary.unm.edu/oanm/NmU/nmu1#mss313bc/, of BSP correspondence is a surprise as I have the original sent to me by JM in confidence. At the time JM was concerned about a dissolution of our efforts if we took on Capra Press and most politely asked us to decline representation. (Noel was one of the printers for BSP as well as a fledgling publisher) There were other confidential matters discussed in correspondence as well. In the light of today, some of those matters seem silly, but were thought important at the time.

3. I have saved the over 30 years correspondence with JM. It is mostly business related letters and notes, a few are personal, of which none appear in that archive. Maybe because its worthless.

4. I have always gotten a grin over John's "imperfect sense of the geography of the eastern seaboard." Does anyone else think NYC may be close to Buffalo, NY? *S*

5. John told me it took only as long as his conversation with his wife Barbara took to decide to accept the HarperCollins offer, as she agreed completely that the timing was right. Yes, 9/11 was one factor in their decision as that event had a negative impact on nearly all commerce in America. (If anyone was wise enough to buy into Las Vegas casino stocks one month after 9/11, they would be most comfortable today.)

That's it for now. Hope it wasn't over long and boring to read.
 
[...] I was surprised to read him claim that as one of the deciding factors.

As he said, he was 71 years old, Bukowski was long dead, where to go? I know he published hundreds of writers, but no Bukowski = no BSP, period. Closing up shop was inevitable. He must have felt like he won the lottery when the interest came from HarperCollins.

yes, yes and yes.
and yes, of course.
 

mjp

Founding member
The Noel Young letter of JM re Noel's Capra Press and our representation thereof referred to in the NM archives, http://elibrary.unm.edu/oanm/NmU/nmu1#mss313bc/, of BSP correspondence is a surprise as I have the original sent to me by JM in confidence. At the time JM was concerned about a dissolution of our efforts if we took on Capra Press and most politely asked us to decline representation.
Well now that's interesting. I wonder why would Martin want to prevent Capra form growing. Did you distribute Paget Press books? They also has a tie-in to BSP...
 
We represented a few Paget Press titles through BSP to the book trade. They sold best in the NYC market. I have no idea how well they did on the west coast or in "fly over land." In addition to their early BARFLY editions, which as you know, BSP did their own edition a few years later; we carried such titles as CONFESSIONS OF A HARVARD MAN, THE MEMOIRS OF SUSAN SIBBALD, STILL LIFE DRAPED STONE, BIRDWATCHING AT THE EQUATER, THE FACE OF EARLY TORONTO and ORIGINAL TORONTO to name a few. The last two were not big sellers in NYC as you can imagine. Many of the Paget Press titles were fine limited editions that collectors coveted and booksellers sold at premium prices. They were mostly truly beautiful books. The decal-edged edition of Al Purdy's BIRDWATCHING, etc. editon is particularly striking.

Special to mjp --- I pulled the JM letter of August 12, 1972 that relates to why John did not want us to represent Capra Press from file and broke up laughing hysterically while reading it. It's amazing how time reduces all past concerns to nothingness. To say John held strong opinions at that time would be an understatement. It's sufficient here to repeat that JM was concerned about a dissolution of our efforts toward BSP if we took on Capra Press. I cannot share the letter with you in this public forum as his letter opens "Please treat this as confidential." I may, under your blood oath of discretion, send it to you privately as I think 36 years of confidentiality meets all personal statute limits of confidentiality. Should you make that blood oath and break it, I will hunt you down and ... well, you know the rest. *S*

Also, during the 70's and into the early 80's (the heyday for small presses) nearly all small presses were very jealous, secretive (paranoid?) and filled with generous amounts of self pride over their booklists. In retrospect they remind me of the juvenile competition between those old high school fraternities of yesteryear. I'll bet you are not old enough to remember them. I write that with great respect for small presses as I was always treated well by them.

And by the way mjp, BSP could easily have thrived in its later years without Bukowski in its stable of authors. Is that heresy? If you like, I will explain that at another time.
 

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