Arcadia Publishing has acquired Cleveland-based Belt Publishing from founder Anne Trubek, who will remain publisher of the 11-year-old press. Under Trubek, Belt was known for its commitment to publishing diverse voices and stories from the Rust Belt, a strategy that will continue under Arcadia’s ownership.
“Belt provides Arcadia with two terrific opportunities in one acquisition,” said Arcadia CEO Brittain Phillips in a statement. “It strengthens our local and regional catalog in the Midwest, where Belt has been publishing remarkable books for a decade. And as we look to the future, Belt helps to expand the way we think about local-interest publishing, with new voices and fresh ways to define sense of place.”
Belt began when Trubek published a collection of essays about Cleveland, and when the book became a local hit, she left her job in academia to focus on publishing fulltime. Anthologies of midwestern cities have become a staple for Belt, which also publishes serious nonfiction and commercial fiction with a regional connection. Company bestsellers include What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, Midwest Futures, The Last Children of Mill Creek, and The Battle of Lincoln Park.
Trubek said that she is excited to be joining forces with Arcadia, which she said she used as a model when launching Belt. She added that being able to take advantage of Arcadia’s resources and infrastructure will enable her to move Belt into new areas. And Trubek acknowledged that, while it has been fun to own and run a small business, she was ready for a change.
“The business aspect was often overwhelming and stressful for me,” she said. “It's extraordinarily difficult to make the numbers work as a small press,” Trubek said. “We can't take advantage of any of the many efficiencies of scale offered to larger presses, and those structural obstacles were making the finances hard.”
Arcadia has used a series of acquisitions to build a backlist of about 20,000 titles focused on local histories and topics. Prior to the Belt purchase, its most recent acquisition was of Applewood Books, in April 2023. The Belt deal also follows a round of layoffs the Charleston, S.C.–based publisher made in January.