The Publishing Mills, the independent spoken-word audio producer founded by Jessica Kaye, is merging its operations into New Millennium Entertainment. Under the agreement, the Publishing Mills will continue its own publishing program as an imprint of New Millennium, and Kaye will continue to acquire titles for her line through her law firm and literary management company, Kaye and Mills.

Michael Viner, co-president of New Millennium, said he was "delighted to have acquired her [Kaye's] outstanding library of audio titles. We believe this merger will strengthen our list." The Publishing Mills has a backlist of about 200 general interest titles, and the line will continue to be distributed by Publishers Group West; New Millennium's titles are distributed by Client Distribution Services. "We may look at this issue on its own down the line, but for right now, we're perfectly content to keep things the way they are," Viner said about the current dual-distributor setup. Kaye concurred. "I'm very happy with PGW," she said. "And having separate distributors clearly delineates what each company is bringing to the whole." In addition to acquiring titles for the imprint, Kaye will work on other publishing projects.

For Kaye, the reasons behind the deal are similar to those cited by Beth Baxter, who put her company, B&B Audio, up for sale last week (News, Mar. 25). "For 12 years I've been working as the sole executive of the Publishing Mills," Kaye said. "It's been exhausting to do all the things a publisher needs to do by myself." As one of what seems a dying breed--the independent audio publisher--Kaye noted, "There aren't a whole lot of us left. With the rash of consolidation in the publishing industry over the past several years, we had to rethink things. We had to decide if we were making a stand as an independent or whether we were making Custer's last stand. There is strength in unity. We had been looking for a strategic partner for a while, and New Millennium turned out to be the right company."