HarperCollins has acquired the Maine-based independent book publisher Cider Mill Press for an undisclosed price. Cider Mill was founded by John Whalen Jr. in 2005, and specializes in publishing cookbooks and humor and gift books, as well as children’s books through its Applesauce Press imprint. Cider Mill will become part of the HarperCollins Focus division, as part of HC’s strategy of expanding HC Focus’s “growing gift and children’s product offerings.”

Whalen stared Cider Mill after leaving Running Press. The company has a backlist of almost 1,000 titles. Whalen said that he was impressed by how well HC understood Cider Mill’s approach to publishing, which features developing many of its projects in-house. Whalen will serve as a consultant and his son, John Whalen III, will join HarperCollins Focus as v-p and publisher of both Cider Mill Press and Applesauce Press imprints. Whalen III has been responsible for overseeing production, purchasing, logistics, and digital optimization for Cider Mill, as well as expanding the publisher's sales and editorial reach.

Laura Minchew, senior v-p and group publisher for HarperCollins Focus Children’s and Gift books, will oversee Cider Mill. “We are thrilled to welcome Cider Mill Press to HarperCollins Focus,” said Minchew. “Their gift books, cookbooks, and creative children’s books, like the New York Times bestselling edition of The Night Before Christmas, are an excellent addition to the HarperCollins Focus growing content line.”

Cider Mill’s titles will continue to be distributed by Simon & Schuster for the next six months. Booksellers’ orders will continue as business as usual, until further notice.

Oaklins DeSilva+Phillips Investment Bank served as financial advisor to Cider Mill.