American West Books, one of the primary distributors of titles into Costco, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods, and other retailers, has merged with Utah-based publishing company Familius, which will relocate to the AWB headquarters in Sanger, Calif. Joshua Mettee will continue in his role as president of AWB, but Christopher Robbins will take over as CEO while remaining president of Familius, the start-up publisher he launched in spring 2012.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” says Mettee, “to have such an experienced and energetic person as Christopher join forces with us as we work to grow and be even more competitive in today’s marketplace. We now plan to expand our business beyond distribution into unique book and gift products for our partners.” Robbins, who founded Familius after nearly 17 years leading publishing company Gibbs Smith, aligned Familius to take advantage of what he perceived as an opportunity in the family market.

“We’re thrilled to join with AWB,” Robbins says. “I’m familiar with their unique competitive advantages, particularly matching key titles with key demographics. Josh has established a strong company with strong industry relationships, and I’m eager to play a role in helping AWB achieve greater success.” As CEO, Robbins will be responsible for company operations and strategic direction with Mettee.

Familius’s content focuses on marriage, parenting, family fun, education, health and wellness, and children’s titles. Under the merger agreement, it will publish approximately 40 new print titles a year and will continue to expand its digital-only assets, including e-books, videos, and apps.