Lerner Publishing Group has acquired Zest Books, the young adult nonfiction publisher. Zest will operate as an imprint of Lerner, and launch at least 10 new titles in the YA entertainment, history, science, health, fashion, and lifestyle advice categories in 2019. Further expansion of the list is planned for future seasons. Zest Books will add approximately 60 backlist titles to the Lerner Publishing Group catalog, including titles in Zest's new adult imprint, Pulp, which was launched in 2014.
Lindsay Matvick, Lerner's publicity manager, told PW that the publishing company intends to keep the new adult titles in print, stating that Lerner is "excited to explore new opportunities the Pulp imprint gives us to further our publishing program."
Zest's three topselling titles are 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School by Erika Stadler and Steven Jenkins; Where’s My Stuff? The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide by Samantha Moss and Lesley Schwartz; and How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty."YA nonfiction is extremely important and relevant to today’s teens, who deserve quality lifestyle advice and who are many times at the forefront of complicated current events. As teens continue to educate themselves and engage, YA nonfiction has become one of the fastest growing genres in publishing," Hallie Warshaw, publisher and creative director of Zest Books, said in a statement. "Lerner will be a great home for Zest Books because it ensures that Zest will continue to publish relevant and compelling YA nonfiction, while providing the support and expertise to become an even larger player in the marketplace."
Warshaw, who founded Zest in 2006, will continue to oversee acquisitions at Lerner as the new publisher-at-large for the imprint. Operations will move to the Minneapolis office of Lerner Publishing Group. Lerner’s distribution center will take over processing, warehousing, fulfillment, billing, customer service, and credit and collection for frontlist and backlist titles as of July 1 of next year. Zest's other three employees have already left the company for other opportunities.
"Zest Books stands out in the marketplace because of the relevant, well-researched, and attractively designed YA nonfiction that Hallie has been publishing for more than 10 years," Adam Lerner, Lerner publisher and CEO, said in a statement. "With Zest Books and Twenty-First Century Books both producing quality YA nonfiction, Lerner is expanding our commitment to create exceptional and cutting edge YA that is relevant to today’s teen readers."
Publicity manager Lindsay Matvick added, "Lerner has had great success in the YA fiction market with our Carolrhoda Lab imprint, including a National Book Award finalist, and with Twenty-First Century Books, our YA nonfiction imprint which creates single titles for the school and library market. We've known for years that our high interest and groundbreaking Twenty-First Century titles would have crossover appeal in the trade market. By adding Zest’s strong backlist and Hallie’s exceptional YA nonfiction knowledge to our team, we're confident that Lerner will make a big impact in the YA nonfiction market."
Zest will become Lerner's 13th imprint. The company, founded by Lerner's father, Harry, in 1959, is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019. It releases 450 titles across all of its imprints each year; there are 5,000 Lerner titles in print.
This story has been updated with further information.