Chicago Review Press Inc., which includes the 30-year-old publishing house Chicago Review Press and distributor Independent Publishers Group, has acquired Tucson, Ariz.—based educational publisher Zephyr Press. The deal includes the press, which has an active backlist of nearly 150 books and 50 teaching aids, as well as Zephyr's mail-order catalogue operation.
According to Chicago Review CEO Curt Matthews, Zephyr's educational materials, which are geared toward gifted children, are a good match for Chicago Review's activity-oriented children's books. "We've been having very good and increasing success with the children's books we publish," Matthews said. "We've been taking the high road on this niche, and have found that teachers loved the books. Zephyr seemed to fit the way we like to operate in a niche."
Jerome Pohlen has been named senior editor of the Zephyr imprint, which will begin publishing new titles, many of which were already in the works, as early as spring 2004. Matthews anticipates doing 12 books a year under the Zephyr name, bringing Chicago Review Press's publishing program to 50 books a year. Currently there are two imprints: Lawrence Hill Books, which specializes in books for the African-American market, and Chicago Review Press (which was recently the subject of a legal battle with musician Van Morrison over its unauthorized biography Can You Feel the Silence?). Zephyr founder Joey Tanner will stay on as a consultant for Chicago Review Press Inc.
The mail-order program will be incorporated into the IPG side of the business, which marks its entrée into direct-to-consumer marketing. IPG president Mark Suchomel said he plans to keep the current schedule of two full catalogues a year, supplemented by smaller mailings.
Even before the deal went through, Zephyr included some of Chicago Review Press's books in its fall catalogue for the first time. Suchomel plans to add more Chicago Review Press titles in future mailings and to expand the breadth of the program. "We're certainly going to be looking at things we've distributed and see if they make sense in the catalogue. We'll also be looking at publishers outside IPG," said Suchomel.