Where have all the midsize publishers gone?

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Where have all the midsize publishers gone?

Oct 04 2021

When Hachette Book Group acquired Workman Publishing, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch observed that Workman was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, remaining independent trade publishers left in the U.S...

Jed Lyons, president and CEO of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group and its sister company NBN, cited two reasons why it’s difficult to build a midsize publishing house: time and money. The key to being a successful midsize publisher is having a quality backlist, and that takes time to build, Lyons said. He noted that it took RLPG 45 years, and lots of acquisitions, to create his company’s 80,000-title strong backlist containing both academic and trade titles. Building a publisher also requires access to capital to support expansion, either by organic growth or through acquisitions. Smaller companies don’t have the access to cash that the larger companies have, and Lyons said that as he grew he had some “near death” experiences, usually tied to concerns raised by banks.

Lyons offered a final reason for the current paucity of midsize publishers. “They’ve been picked off,” he said...

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