Jeffrey Stern, who has been involved with companies that deal with intellectual property for 20 years, has acquired Bonus Books, a 30-year-old book publisher based in Chicago. Stern told PW he was interested in entering the book business because "it provides opportunities to find some niches" that can be exploited by creative marketing. He was attracted to Bonus because of the company's 250-title backlist and own distribution network, which "provides a good platform for growth."
Bonus's backlist contains a mix of professional books in such areas as broadcasting, media and fund-raising as well as nonfiction titles on sports, gambling and the Chicago region. Stern will add pop culture books to the fall list and plans to add entertainment titles to the company's line in 2003, which will include about 40 titles. The pop culture and entertainment books will come from Bonus's new Los Angeles office, which Stern, a Los Angeles resident, is in the process of opening. Over the next 12 to 18 months, Stern envisions hiring 10 to 12 people for the Los Angeles office to handle finance, marketing and editorial. The Chicago office, which includes Bonus's warehouse, will remain open as well.
Stern hopes to be able to develop marketing techniques, including the use of the Internet, that will result in promoting books to people who have "self-selected" certain areas. More aggressive marketing in bookstores is also planned, and another acquisition is possible.