Sleeping Bear Press, the $8 million Chelsea, Mich., independent publisher, has completed a series of deals that have resulted in the dismemberment of the company. The publisher sold its children's division to the Gale Group and most of its turf management and golf architecture program to John Wiley & Sons. Sleeping Bear's remaining assets—100 golf, sports and regional titles, as well as 75 books in development—have been acquired by the former shareholders of Sleeping Bear and will form the core of a new company, Clock Tower Press. Skip DeWall, former executive editor at Sleeping Bear and now publisher of Clock Tower, said Sleeping Bear's shareholders received a number of attractive offers for the various assets of Sleeping Bear, which they decided to accept.
The sale to Wiley involved approximately 50 titles in the area of turf grass management and golf course design. The line, which was mostly published under Sleeping Bear's Ann Arbor Press imprint, generates annual revenues of about $1 million. Top titles include Golf Course Architecture and Turf Management for Golf Courses. Wiley plans to publish four to six new titles per year.
Gale's acquisition of about 50 children's titles, plus the Sleeping Bear name, is aimed at strengthening Gale's presence in the k—6 market that was Sleeping Bear's focus. Sleeping Bear founder Brian Lewis will direct the imprint from Chelsea. Gale plans to accelerate the publication schedule of Sleeping Bear's Discovering America series and will also market Sleeping Bear's titles to the library market.
Clock Tower will remain in Chelsea, but will move to new offices. In addition to DeWall, other former Sleeping Bear employees who will join Clock Tower include Brett Marshall, formerly golf editor at Sleeping Bear, who will be executive editor at the new company. Marshall said three new golf titles are set for fall, led by the recently released Mr. Ryder's Trophy. Next spring's list is not yet finalized, but Marshall expects to publish one or two sports books and one regional title. DeWall said he hopes to eventually do about 12 new books annually. Clock Tower will continue to handle its own sales and distribution, and DeWall estimates that first-year sales for the company will be about $2 million.