Dundurn Press, one of Canada's largest independent trade publishing houses, has been sold to a group of technology entrepreneurs. Lorne Wallace, Jason Martin, and Randall Howard took ownership of the company on January 23 from the previous owner, Kirk Howard. (Randall Howard and Kirk Howard are unrelated).
The deal was for an undisclosed cash sum and covers all of Dundurn's titles. Scott Fraser, who previously worked at Lorimer and at Dundurn as an acquisitions editor, is serving in the role of acting publisher and president. Kirk Howard will continue to serve as publisher emeritus.
It has been widely known that Howard had been shopping the publishing house for sometime and its sale comes as something of a relief to many in the industry, who had feared the worst after several prominent staff had left key positions in recent years.
Since its inception, Dundurn had expanded by acquiring a variety of small presses, including Hounslow Press, Simon & Pierre, Boardwalk Books, Natural Heritage Books, XYZ Publishing, Napoleon and Company, Blue Butterfly Books, and Thomas Allen Publishers. As of 2017, the company had some 2,500 backlist titles and was publishing between 90 and 100 new titles per year, largely focused on Canadian history and fiction. Output slowed in 2018, as Howard was focused on finding a buyer.