Over the last few weeks, it has come to light that Simon & Schuster has added or is planning to add a total of three new imprints. And while the new operations are not on the scale of Portfolio or Gotham Books, they do represent a broadening of the company's publishing programs to fill particular niches.

Simon & Schuster U.K. will launch its own Free Press imprint next spring, and although it will be modeled after its counterpart in the U.S., the imprint will be indigenous to the U.K. "in personality and content," said S&S U.K. chief Ian Chapman. "We want to expand and exploit the Free Press brand, but it will be done with a localized vision," Chapman explained. The addition of the Free Press will make S&S U.K. "a more well-rounded house," Chapman said.

Andrew Gordon has been named to head the imprint, which will focus on serious nonfiction works in such areas as history and politics. Chapman said he expects the imprint to publish 10 to 15 titles annually in hardcover, with trade paperback editions to follow. The first list will include a biography of Nikita Khruschev by William Taubman and In the Blink of an Eye by Andrew Parker. Chapman said that while S&S U.K. will develop its own Free Press list, there may be some titles that S&S may want to publish in the U.S.

In the U.S., Pocket is preparing for the launch of a dedicated line of chick-lit books called Downtown. The inaugural titles, mostly trade paper originals, land this winter. Pocket hopes to target a readership beyond the late 20s—early 30s white-bread women who tend to be subject, author and audience for these books. "The perception is that chick-lit is for a particular demographic, but we want to open it up," said Pocket publicity director Seale Ballenger. The house is going out with a variety of unconventional chick-lit titles, including a reprint of a book by Zane. Other titles include The Man I Should Have Married, Getting Over Jack Wagner and The Song Reader.

Pocket's Lauren McKenna and Amy Pierpont are overseeing Downtown, working under editorial director Maggie Crawford and publisher Louise Burke. "This is another sign of [Burke] putting her stamp on what is considered a pretty traditional company," Ballenger said.

Another Burke project is the new deal Pocket Books has signed with Paraview Press, which has been publishing print-on-demand titles for about 18 months, to create Paraview Pocket Books. The line, which will debut next spring, will focus on books in the mind/body/spirit and science areas.

Claire Wyckoff, publisher of Paraview Press, said Paraview will continue to acquire and publish books via POD for niche markets, but books that are appropriate for a wider audience will be done under the Paraview Pocket banner. "We have some projects that print-on-demand can't support," Wyckoff said. Six titles are scheduled to be released under the imprint in 2003, beginning with The Seventh Sense: The Secrets of Remote Viewing as Told by a Psychic Spy for the U.S. Military. Other titles include Strange Secrets and Bigfoot.

Unlike some other agreements between POD publishers and traditional publishers, where the POD house serves as testing ground for new titles, books in the Paraview Pocket line will be acquired specifically for the imprint. Patrick Huyghe, editor-in-chief of Paraview, will oversee title acquisition for Paraview Pocket, while Burke and Sandra Martin, founder of Paraview, will serve as copublishers. Pocket will produce the titles and handle sales and marketing.

Encouraging Start

Paraview Press was founded in 2000 and is part of Paraview.com, an affiliate of the Paraview Literary Agency. Wyckoff said the company has published 18 titles since its launch, including six original books plus 12 reprints. Its top seller to date has been its first book, a revised edition of Mysterious America, which has sold about 3,000 copies. Paraview uses Lightning Source as its POD printer and recently signed a deal with Publishing Dimensions for e-book publishing; Paraview had used iPublish to distribute its e-book titles before the Time Warner venture closed. Paraview sells titles through its own site, but its most important channels are Amazon.com and special sales, Wyckoff said.