Jasper Joffe, CEO of leading independent publisher Joffe Books, has acquired Choc Lit from its previous owner, Lyn Vernham, for an undisclosed sum. Joffe will be take over Choc Lit’s list of around 250 titles, and will "be relaunching the books specifically for the digital market," according to acquisition statement.

Choc Lit was founded in 2009, and has "a well-deserved reputation for the consistently high quality of its romance and women’s fiction list," according to the statement. The publisher is based in Camberley, England, and holds onto world rights for all its novels.

"We love Choc Lit and are delighted to acquire the company from Lyn Vernham," Jasper Joffe said in a statement. "Lyn has built one of the most outstanding publishers of women’s fiction and romance in the U.K. It’s an honor to take forward this brilliant publisher with its unique tasting panel of readers who help select the books to publish. We aim to build upon the list’s exceptional quality and to find new opportunities to reach even more readers. It’s a great fit for our future as an all-genres commercial publisher."

Vernham, in a statement, said: "I’m delighted to see my baby go to such a good home in Joffe Books. It has been almost fourteen years of absolute fun and an honor to help so many authors. We set out to create a romance brand that would support debut and lesser known authors on the road to publication. We have launched over 60 authors, two third of which were debuts. Some have gone on to be very successful in our genre. I’m very proud of them all and what the team has achieved."

Joffe Books has previously acquired the Robert Hale backlist from Crowood Press, in 2019, and Ostara Publishing, in 2022. "The overall sales of ex-Hale and Ostara titles have increased tenfold since the acquisitions," the publisher said in its statement. "Joffe is planning to achieve similar results for the authors on the Choc Lit list."

Founded in 2014, Joffe Books is "proud of its history of innovative publishing. Thanks to the unflagging passion and dedication brought by everyone in Team Joffe, we have built a reputation for crafting great books for readers, long-term relationships with authors and agents, and fleet-footed marketing. We are now the largest independent publisher of e-books in the U.K."

The statement continued: "In 2022, Joffe sold over 3 million books across crime, mystery, thriller, romance and historical fiction (and another 6 million through Kindle Unlimited). Joffe was shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2020, 2021, and 2022, and won Trade Publisher of the Year at the IPG Awards in 2023. The Joffe Books Prize aims to increase the diversity of voices in crime writing."

A version of this story originally ran in BookBrunch.