In a deal that brings together one of the oldest independent e-book publishers with one of the largest, Open Road Integrated Media has signed an agreement to acquire E-Reads, the digital publisher founded by Richard Curtis in 1999. The purchase, which is set to close April 1, will add more than 1,200 e-books to Open Road’s list and includes authors such as Dan Simmons, Harlan Ellison, Greg Bear, John Norman (in science fiction and fantasy), Aaron Elkins, Barbara Parker (mystery), Laura Kinsale (romance), and Ray Garton (horror). Following completion of the deal, Open Road will publish and distribute the titles through its own platform and the E-Reads site will be taken down.
Curtis said that as the e-book market has grown he was looking to add more marketing to support his authors and felt that Open Road, with its emphasis on marketing, was a perfect fit. “I realized that I was going to need more resources to add the marketing I wanted and decided that instead of looking for investors an affiliation with Open Road was a better fit,” Curtis said. Open Road founder Jane Friedman said that the addition of E-Reads titles are a perfect complement to Open Road’s different verticals and that adding the titles to her company’s marketing efforts will be seamless. “We are always looking for content and E-Reads will give us a bump up,” Friedman said.
Curtis started E-Reads as a separate division from his literary agency, which remains unaffected by the deal, as a way to bring back out-of-print books. “We grew it into a powerhouse in the areas in which we operated,” Curtis said, adding that he realized that it was in the best interest of his authors to align E-Reads with a stronger marketing partner.
Curtis will consult with Open Road following the close of the deal, focusing on making the transition as smooth as possible. All E-Reads titles will be released as Open Road e-books and the company will do print-on-demand editions when demand requires.
As for his literary agency, Curtis said it will be “business as usual.”