By Jim Milliot | Jun 28, 2013. publishersweekly.com
Deciding that a standalone adult imprint does not fit with its long-range plans, Disney is selling the majority of Hyperion titles to Hachette Book Group in a deal that is expected to close in mid-July. HBG will acquire more than 1,000 adult backlist titles plus another 25 books that it will release over the next few seasons. Disney will retain the most media-related titles such as its Castle series which ties into the ABC television show of the same name. The book franchises that will remain with Disney will be overseen by Disney Publishing Worldwide. Disney’s children’s imprints, Disney and Disney-Hyperion, are not affected by the sale.
The deal includes the Hyperion name and HBG will continue to publish the Hyperion books under that imprint. Hyperion employees will stay with the company until the deal is completed and will help with transition issues. Some Hyperion employees are expected to join HBG in such areas as editorial and publicity. Other Hyperion employees will be given the opportunity to interview for other positions at Disney.
HBG has been Hyperion’s longtime distributor and will continue to distribute titles produced by DPW that, in addition to Castle, include tie-in cookbooks to ABC’s The Chew and a upcoming book based on Shark Tank. “The addition of franchise-based titles from Disney/ABC Television Group will expand our breadth of bestselling content,” said Andrew Sugerman, executive v-p, Disney Publishing Worldwide.
The purchase is a boon for HBG which has been looking to grow its presence in nonfiction. The Hyperion list includes such titles as Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy with a foreword by Caroline Kennedy, to Jamie’s Food Revolutionby Jamie Oliver, from Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven to Randy Pausch’sThe Last Lecture and Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox. “We’ve put a strategic emphasis on growing nonfiction and the Hyperion backlist is a perfect fit,” a HBG spokesperson said.
The sale ends a 22-year run for Hyperion which was founded in 1991 by Bob Miller. In the last few years, under president and publisher Ellen Archer, Hyperion has focused almost entirely on publishing books that could benefit from synergy within the Disney/ABC Television Group family. Last September, Archer hired Laura Hopper as editorial director for franchise publishing and this January brought in Ruth Pomerance as senior editor to focus on developing stories and authors who could work across the DATG business. Those efforts were apparently not enough to convince Disney executives that they needed Hyperion – whose list had shrunk in recent years –to publish a limited number of books annually.
Hyperion authors who have questions about what the deal means for them can direct those queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.