Late last week Storey Publishing founders and co-owners Martha and John Storey signed a letter of intent to sell the majority interest in the 18-year-old company to Workman Publishing. For the past year and a half, Workman has handled distribution to the trade for Storey, which specializes in illustrated how-to books on country living and has a backlist of 565 titles. The deal involves both Storey's trade publishing and custom publishing programs. The Storeys will retain the direct-to-consumer media program that they developed 30 years ago.

"It's win, win, win," commented Storey president and CEO Pam Art about the acquisition. She and the other members of the Storey management team, which includes CFO/COO Dan Reynolds and publisher Janet Harris, will stay on, and Storey will continue to operate out of its new home at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass., where it moved last fall.

"The nice thing," continued Art, "is that it will be seamless for our accounts. We'll still be shipping from the same warehouse; the Workman team and the commission reps will be the same. There won't be a transition period."

For his part, Workman founder and owner Peter Workman labeled the acquisition "a very nice fit." He likened it to his company's most recent purchase, Algonquin Books, which it acquired in 1989. As with Algonquin, Workman is committed to maintaining Storey's "way of doing business and culture," he said.

The purchase is expected to be completed at the end of June.