The Thomson Corp. subsidiary Course Technology has acquired Premier Press, a publisher of computer and technology books, from 22nd Century Inc. The Premier line is centered around the former Prima Tech imprint that 22nd Century acquired from Random House less than one year ago (News, Aug. 27). The Premier purchase follows the recent acquisition of Muska & Lipman, a computer book publisher that has a 50-title backlist, and reflects CT's decision to expand its presence into the retail channel. "We now have the opportunity to use Premier's list as a platform for other Course Technology titles to be sold into the retail space," said Joe Dougherty, CT president.

CT's retail market group was formed in February with the goal of giving the publisher a new marketing channel, said Andy Shafran, senior v-p for the group. The Premier acquisition includes 200 active titles focused on game programming, Web development and network security. In addition, a number of Premier employees have joined CT; some have remained in Premier's offices in Indianapolis and others are relocating to CT's retail group headquarters in Cincinnati.

Shafran said the number of titles the group releases each year will be determined by market demand. "We want to deliver books to different communities," and will publish as many titles as necessary to meet the demand, Shafran said. The Premier titles are geared heavily toward the game community, while Muska & Lipman books are for those interested in digital audio. CT is using a combination of its own sales force, commissioned reps and the sales forces of other Thomson units to reach a wide variety of retail channels. The Premier and Muska editorial staffs will continue to develop new titles, and the group will likely adapt some of CT's content that is aimed at the business and technology training markets for sale through retail channels, Shafran said.