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Last Update: April 23, 2007 8:44 PM

EVAN R. STEINHAUSER / Daily News archive 2003

Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co., which bought the Alaska Geographic Society book list in 2004, has emerged from bankruptcy.

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Regional publisher closes book on Chapter 11

BANKRUPT NO MORE: Titles such as "The Alaska Almanac" to re-emerge with solvency.

Alaska Northwest Books plans to revive full operations.

Story tools

The company has an active list of more than 140 books on Alaska.

Alaska Northwest plans to restore about 45 out-of-stock titles to its inventory, including several cookbooks, guidebooks, children's books and memoirs that focus on Alaska, as well as publish new books.

It also will continue to publish such popular titles as "The Alaska Almanac" (due to come out this fall in its 31st edition) and "Alaska Bear Tales."

The revival is coming because Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co., its Portland, Ore.-based parent company, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Its reorganization plan approved by a federal bankruptcy court calls for the company to pay, with interest, all of its creditors -- a list that includes dozens of Alaska writers, photographers and illustrators -- over the next five years.

It also allows Graphic Arts to continue operating its businesses: Graphic Arts Books, WestWind Press and Alaska Northwest Books, the latter based in Anchorage.

Assisting Graphic Arts financially was a "significant investment" by the Ingram Book Group -- the world's largest wholesale distributor of books -- which has become a new minority shareholder in the company, according to Graphic Arts publisher Doug Pfeiffer.

"We're thrilled," Pfeiffer said Wednesday. "I think we've fixed the problems that produced the inefficiencies."

In March, Graphic Arts began mailing out checks to its creditors. That it also plans to pay them interest for overdue debts is pretty remarkable, Pfeiffer said.

"I feel really proud that we're able to come out of this thing and everybody is getting checks. The smiles have been rather refreshing -- after all the frowns I faced," he said.

In Anchorage, Graphic Arts regional manager Sara Juday -- who also serves as associate publisher of Alaska Northwest Books -- echoed that sentiment.

"It's been crazy here," she said, describing the company's recent emergence from Chapter 11 in an e-mail message. "It was as if the floodgates opened. All the things we couldn't do for so long were at last possible, so we've been really busy."

"We have just ordered our fourth printing of 'The Double Musky Inn Cookbook,' " Juday said. "That was released mid-July last year, and it's been a very strong title for us."

Another new book, "The Kids from Nowhere" -- a narrative of the year a team of mostly Yup'ik Eskimos from St. Lawrence Island won a national problem-solving contest -- has begun a second printing, after recently being named to the Alaska high school "Battle of the Books" list, Juday said.

When the company declared bankruptcy last April, Graphic Arts claimed an inventory of about 490 active titles, including scores of glossy coffee-table books, while publishing about 40 new titles a year. Now it plans to publish about 15 new titles this coming year and more than double that later on, Pfeiffer said.

Daily News reporter George Bryson can be reached at

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