The Corner Office: Growth Through Acquisition
As a number of small, independent publishing houses struggled to survive over the last year-and-a-half, Nashville, Tenn.-based Turner Publishing, an independent publisher of specialty and trade titles, found itself presented with an opportunity: It could invest in its future by taking the bold step of acquiring other publishers that were seeking help, thereby growing its own assets, or it could play it more fiscally conservatively and stand pat.
It chose to strike while the iron was hot.
In February 2009, Turner acquired the remaining inventory and the rights to publish 431 titles from Cumberland House, a small, private publisher. The titles it acquired are in a variety of categories in both fiction and nonfiction, and include gift books, cooking, history, health, sports, entertainment and regional titles.
More recently, in March, Turner Publishing reached a publishing agreement with Provo, Utah-based Ancestry.com, an online genealogy resource. As a result of the agreement, Turner took over most existing inventory and related publishing contracts from Ancestry Publishing, a division of Ancestry.com. It acquired more than 100 Ancestry Publishing titles and limited use of the Ancestry.com name for publishing purposes.
Titles from both acquisitions are now available at TurnerPublishing.com and other select online retailers, as well as bookstores nationwide.
Todd Bottorff, president and publisher of Turner Publishing, spoke with Book Business to discuss how these acquisitions have impacted his company’s business, as well as his views on the emerging e-book marketplace and what it means for the futures of Turner Publishing and the book publishing industry as a whole.
How have the acquisitions of Ancestry.com and Cumberland House impacted Turner Publishing’s business?
Todd Bottorff: Our strategy is to provide valuable books, and to service authors and customers well, with an emphasis on quality production and compelling marketing. Those acquisitions have been a helpful addition to our list. And the customer bases and marketing overlap nicely with the capabilities that we have. We’ve been able to seamlessly bring those books into our business model, and sell and market them effectively.