Prometheus Books, which is nearing its 50th anniversary, has sold its two genre imprints to Start Publishing.

Founded in 1969 by the late Paul Kurtz in Amherst, N.Y. to publish provocative, progressive, and independent nonfiction, Prometheus expanded into fiction in 2005 with the launch of Pyr, which focuses on science fiction and fantasy novels. In 2011 it added the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books. Pyr has a backlist of 170 titles, while Seventh Street's backlist stands at about 90.

Prometheus publisher Jonathan Kurtz said the company decided to return to its nonfiction roots to allow it “to more fully engage with the diverse readers in our core categories and maximize the potential of our extensive back catalog.”

Kurtz added: “With our world currently so desperately in need of clear-headedness and thoughtful discourse, Prometheus’s commitment to bringing rational intelligence, objective analysis, and scientific reasoning through intelligent nonfiction is again of urgent value.”

Start Publishing began has an exclusively digital publisher but, through a series of acquisitions, now releases print editions as well. Start will publish both print and digital editions of the newly acquired titles. Jarred Weisfeld, president of Start, told PW two editors from Prometheus will stay on to continue to release frontlist titles under both imprints. Start will also hire a new public relations/marketing person to promote the two imprints.