To expand its recently launched distribution-only business, Open Road Media has started distributing a number of backlist titles from one of its first content marketing clients, Albert Whitman & Company. Unlike its marketing program, Open Road Distribution will distribute digital editions of titles, but will not promote them, However, noted founder Jane Friedman, Open Road will watch how the titles perform and if they begin to gain traction will talk to clients about moving them onto its marketing platform.

Publishers who sign up for the distribution option will receive a 75%-25% split. While Whitman is already an Open Road client, Friedman noted that the distribution service is open to all interested parties. “I’ve always liked the distribution business,” Friedman said. “This is a great way for us to expand. We expect distribution to become a major part of our business.” Under the Whitman deal, Open Road will distribute all of the children’s publisher’s backlist titles, while continuing to publish and market the company’s The Boxcar Children series as well as other frontlist titles.

“Over the last three years, our e-book partnership with Open Road for The Boxcar Children and selected other titles has been amazingly successful. We’re excited to extend that relationship to the entire Albert Whitman backlist and going forward, to the simultaneous publication of each new title in both print and e-book, “said John Quattrocchi, president, Albert Whitman & Company

Friedman said she expects to add a few more distribution clients by the end of the year and for the program to move into high gear in 2014.