Chicago Review Press, Inc., the parent company of Chicago Review Press and Independent Publishers Group, has acquired Academy Chicago Publishers, effective immediately. Academy Chicago was founded in 1975 by husband-and-wife team Jordan Miller and Anita Miller when they published A Guide to Non-Sexist Children's Books, which sold 40,000 copies. The company made headlines in 1987 when it lost a lawsuit with the Cheever family over the publishing rights to the Uncollected Stories of John Cheever. Today, Academy Chicago publishes fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres and is best known for mysteries, Victorian literature, and works-in-translation; there are more than 300 Academy Chicago titles in print.
Academy Chicago will become an imprint of Chicago Review Press and will expand its publishing program from 5-6 new titles each year in recent years, to 15-20 new releases. Academy Chicago releases will be acquired and edited for the next two years by the Millers. Chicago Review Press will promote the titles and IPG will distribute all frontlist and backlist Academy Chicago titles.
“They found the publishing environment for small publishers to be challenging. The last few years were tough, what with the economy and moving to new offices,” explains Bruce Miller, an independent publishers commission rep based in Chicago who is the Millers’ son. Bruce, who was PW's sales rep of the year in 2013, first approached Chicago Review Press to discuss the possibility of an acquisition of Academy Chicago Press. Bruce disclosed that he had also been involved in “serious conversations” with three other publishers about Academy Chicago Press.
“They wanted to be part of a larger enterprise that appreciates what they do. Chicago Review Press has a powerful publishing machine and good staff there. It’s a good fit,” he says.
We’re very excited,” Cynthia Sherry, publisher of Chicago Review Press, states in a press release. “Our two companies have always been strong independent publishers with a passion for quality. Academy Chicago Publishers has a terrific line of fiction, particularly mysteries which will be a great new addition to our list. I’m confident that our combined talents will yield wonderful books for years to come.”
With the acquisition of Academy Chicago, Chicago Review Press will publish original fiction for the first time in its 40 years. The company, which was founded by husband-and-wife team Curt Matthews and Linda Matthews in 1973, published 65 frontlist titles last year and has more than 650 nonfiction titles in print. Academy Chicago will become Chicago Review Press’ fifth imprint. Its flagship imprint, Chicago Review Press reported $6 million in net sales in 2013.