Vince Douglas, president of School Specialty Children's Publishing division, told PW that the new owner of the supplementary materials publisher is "100% behind all of our book programs." Douglas was reacting to assertions from competitors that School Specialty will not be as committed to the company's editorial products as McGraw-Hill was. School Specialty bought the publisher from M-H in January.

While M-H was a good owner for the publishing division, the brands that comprise the division—among them Instructional Fair, Frank Schaffer, Judy Instructo and Spectrum—were well established before they were acquired by M-H, Douglas said.

He said he has assurances from School Specialty management that the publishing unit will continue to operate autonomously, and he expects the relationship with the new owners will open up new marketing channels as well as product extensions. The company will continue to publish 600 to 700 titles annually.

Douglas said that among the new areas that the publishing group is exploring is electronic learning aids, a field where such companies as LeapFrog and Publications International have done well. The company is also testing a number of Web-based subscription products for both teachers and parents that Douglas hopes to be able to launch by BookExpo America. "We're moving forward. These brands have been around a long time and they're not going away," he said.