Reader’s Digest has found a buyer for its Gareth Stevens imprint, selling the publisher to a new company formed by Roger Rosen, owner and CEO of Rosen Publishing, and Gary Spears, a co-founder of Gareth Stevens in 1984. Under the agreement, the assets will be sold to Gareth Stevens Publishing, LLLP, and will operate under the name Gareth Stevens Publishing. RD will provide transition services through the end of September, continuing to manage order processing, fulfillment and customer service in Strongsville, Ohio, until that time.
The new company will not be affiliated with Rosen’s Rosen Publishing Group and will operate as a separate entity. “We are committed to the school and library space,” Rosen said in explaining why he and Spears went ahead with the acquisition. Spears has been named president of Stevens, and Rosen said he will look to keep as many of the old Gareth Stevens team in place as possible. After the transition period with RD expires, the same sales team will continue selling the Stevens titles, Rosen said. Ken Katula has been named manager of the field sales force and Jennifer Jenson manager of wholesaler sales.
Rosen anticipates publishing about 250 titles per year, in two seasons, with books primarily aimed at the K-8 market. Editorial director will be Rachel O’Connor, who is based in Washington State. The Stevens editorial team will be built around editors in different parts of the country, Rosen said.
One of Rosen’s early goals is to move Stevens “more aggressively” into digital publishing, he said. Rosen has been successful at moving print content into digital format at Rosen Publishing and he hopes to parlay some of that experience and expertise with the Stevens content. While Stevens has a “robust e-book business,” Rosen said he is looking at how the material could be used in other digital formats, such as in a database or in more interactive books.
RD took over Stevens in 2007 when its parent company, WRC Media, and RD merged. It put the unit up for sale earlier this year to allow RD’s Weekly Reader Publishing Group, which had taken over Stevens, to focus on its core Weekly Reader brand.