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Nelson Acquires Rutledge Hill
Jim Milliot -- 1/10/00

Thomas Nelson has completed the acquisition of its Nashville publishing neighbor, Rutledge Hill Press. Rutledge Hill's editorial operations are being moved to Nelson's headquarters, and Nelson will assume all back-office functions.

Larry Stone, who cofounded Rutledge Hill in 1983 and has been publisher of the company, will continue to head the operation, which will become Nelson's primary imprint for reaching the general trade market. Approximately half of Rutledge Hill's 20 or so employees have also joined Nelson.

"There are some books that we come across that we would like to publish, but which are not suited to the Christian market. Those titles can now be published by Rutledge Hill," explained J Powers, executive v-p of Nelson. Nelson will distribute Rutledge Hill's titles to the Christian market and secular chain retailers, while independent reps will continue to be used to reach independent booksellers. Stone expects to publish between 35 and 40 titles annually under the Rutledge Hill imprint.

Best known for H. Jackson Brown's Life's Little Instruction Book, Rutledge also publishes titles in the cooking, history, regional and gift areas, with a backlist of about 250 titles. Titles that have done well recently include Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook and America's Dumbest Criminals.

The future of Rutledge Hill had been up in the air since last summer when the company initiated a number of executive changes and laid off some of its staff (News, Aug. 2, 1999). Stone noted that the Nelson purchase will give Rutledge Hill "the marketing and sales strength the company needs," while also permitting it to take on new projects.
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