IPG, the 51-year-old Chicago-based distribution company, has launched a third imprint, IPG Publishing, which will focus on copublishing and licensing projects, as well as proprietary and customized publishing. The imprint joins the Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books under the distributor’s publishing umbrella.
IPG Publishing is led by Richard T. Williams, v-p of development, publishing, and licensing, who explained that the imprint gives the company the opportunity to use all of its existing resources—its in-house publishing, sales, and marketing teams, its print relationships and digital print center—to release books that highlight the IPG brand.
The new imprint debuted in June with the release of Don McLean’s American Pie: A Fable, a children’s picture book inspired by the 1972 song. It was published in partnership with music and film producer Spencer Proffer’s media production company, Meteor 17, with an initial print run of 10,000 copies. The 18th edition of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, with its classic red plaid jacket, will be released, with a 60,000-copy initial print run, on October 25 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. The cookbook is being published in collaboration with Dotdash Meredith (formerly Meredith) and reflects that company’s decision to stop releasing its own titles in favor of licensing arrangements. In November, IPG Publishing will publish another children’s picture book in partnership with Meteor 17: Broadway Baby by Russell Miller and Judith A. Proffer.
Williams said IPG Publishing is aimed at clients that want more than simple distribution services and whose content cannot fit under the CRP or Triumph imprints. He pointed to the BH&G cookbook—“which didn’t seem to work” with CRP’s quirky list or with Triumph, which specializes in sports books—as the perfect fit for the new imprint.
In its role as a publisher, IPG Publishing is in a position to get better printing rates for its clients’ titles, while also giving them more visibility to accounts that recognize the IPG brand. “A lot of this is about being well marketed and branded throughout the industry.” Williams said. “We are using our brand as a distributor to put out a book that we then shepherd through the process on our own, in addition to distributing it.”
Adding high-profile licensed books published under the IPG Publishing imprint enhances the entire IPG distribution mix, Williams added. “Not only do we have the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook here, and our existing clients there—we also have the program with Spencer Proffer that allows us to spread out in all directions and get better exposure for everything on the list.”
IPG Publishing has already scheduled a number of titles for release in 2023: two or three books will published in partnership with Meteor 17, “including tie-ins to additional legendary songs,” Williams said. He’s also signed licensing deals with Dotdash Meredith’s Southern Living magazine for a Southern Cocktails book, and with Coastal Living for a Beach Eats cookbook. There may also be “a few other proprietary publishing projects” that represent “a new area for us,” he acknowledged—particularly since they involve having IPG’s editorial staff develop content.
Speaking of his vision regarding IPG Publishing, Williams said that the company’s goal is to employ “different models—different ways to use IPG in order to continue to develop our services in reimagining what a distributor is supposed to be.” As IPG Publishing establishes itself in an evolving industry, he added, “it’s got an open future. We’re excited as to where it’s going to go. Maybe a partner will come and give me ideas I haven’t even thought about yet, but are worth investigating.”