MHC Forms Children's Publishing Group
Jim Milliot -- 11/13/00
Douglas: Looking
to grow kids' unit.
The acquisition of the Tribune education division has prompted the McGraw-Hill Cos. to change the name of its Columbus, Ohio-based McGraw-Hill Consumer Products division to McGraw-Hill Children's Publishing, effective November 13. The unit was originally formed in late 1996 as a vehicle for MHC's educational publishing group to sell its supplementary materials to the retail market under the direction of Vince Douglas. Douglas has been named to head MHCP as president.
MHCP has absorbed a number of the units acquired from Tribune, among them American Education Publishing, Landoll, Peter Bedrick Books and Instructional Fair. Douglas told PW the integration of the Tribune units "is well along." MHCP has consolidated much of the different companies' back-office functions and integrated the sales forces. One issue still to be decided is where to build a new warehouse; MHCP's current facility is at full capacity, and Douglas is looking at a number of potential new sites.

Douglas, who founded American Education Publishing as well as the MHCP imprint Brighter Child, said he plans to keep each imprint distinct and dedicated to a particular niche. He said that despite rumors, MHCP is not looking to sell any part of Landoll, noting that MHCP is "committed to the mass market." Mass market outlets and teacher stores are MHCP's two largest distribution channels, and the company also markets its products through bookstores, educational stores, libraries and online retailers; the company d s not sell to the school market. The division's product mix includes educational workbooks, reference books, picture books, storybooks and licensed and nonlicensed coloring and activity books.

A major effort for 2001 and beyond is to increase MHCP's presence in the children's literature book market. Through a combination of original titles, distribution agreements and rights deals, MHCP will release about 60 literature titles next year. Douglas said he would like to get the literature program to 100 titles annually as fast as possible and is especially interested in building a backlist quickly, a goal that could very well be accomplished through an acquisition.

Douglas estimated that MHCP will publish a total of approximately 600 titles in 2001 and revenues are expected to top $100 million. To help oversee the unit's expansion Douglas has assembled a management team that includes John Molish, v-p sales and marketing; Ron Peek, v-p trade sales; George Bratton, publisher, education; Tracey Dils, publisher, trade; David Kelly, marketing manager, trade; and Michelle Yeager, marketing manager, digital. MHCP has seven locations, including an office in the U.K., and employs 160 people.