CDS Books to Publish First Literary Novel

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Client Distribution Services (CDS), best known as a book distributor, is now looking to make a name for itself in the field of book publishing. One-year-old CDS Books will be publishing A Son Called Gabriel by Northern Irish author Damian McNicholl in June. The debut novel is a coming-of-age story set in Northern Ireland during the 1960s and '70s.

Though McNicholl's book is not the first title published by CDS Books, it marks the first time the company will publish both an author's debut and a literary novel, said CDS publicist Joan Schweighart. "A Son Called Gabriel is a labor of love for everyone," she told BTW in a recent interview. "[After several CDS staffers] read the book they fell in love with it and decided they could not not do it."

CDS Books produced an audio CD with excerpts from A Son Called Gabriel, read by the author, that was sent with an advance reader's copy in the February White Box mailing to stores with Book Sense. "In this case, we thought an audio CD, with the author reading excerpts, enhances the reading -- to hear it with the [Northern Irish] accent," explained CDS Books Marketing Director Sheila Phelan.

CDS has been in the distribution business for five years, since 1999, when it purchased the former Random House distribution center in Jackson, Tennessee. CDS retained the warehouse's management and personnel, as well as the executive team of Random House's client distribution services division.

Since CDS personnel brought quite a bit of publishing expertise to the table, it was just a matter of time before it began publishing titles, explained Phelan. "It was a natural evolution to go into publishing," she said. "Now they can match their distribution capabilities with their publishing experience…. They were just looking for a [new] author, and this is an author whose voice was ready to be heard."

CDS Books plans to publish between 15 and 20 new titles in 2004. In addition to A Son Called Gabriel, it will publish The Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore, Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code, and The Ernst & Young Tax Guide, 2005 Edition, among others. --David Grogan