Abrams Buys the Overlook Press
Abrams has bought the Overlook Press, which was founded in 1971 by Alfred Mayer and his son Peter Mayer, who died in May; Peter Mayer had also been head of Penguin for nearly 20 years and head of Duckworth Press. The Overlook Press specializes in out-of-print fiction and nonfiction titles and has 1,300 active titles.
"In 1971, my father and grandfather founded the Overlook Press with a vision for a truly independent publishing house that would put out an eclectic list of vital but overlooked books," Liese Mayer said. "Nearly half a century later, my father was deeply gratified and reassured to know that the legacy he had built with so much labor and love would continue under the direction of his trusted colleague and friend Michael Jacobs. I believe that this will be a wonderful new chapter."
Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs commented: "Acquiring the Overlook Press' nearly 50 years of publishing tasteful, interesting, and literary books and authors is a good strategic fit for us at this point in our evolution. We recently launched our narrative nonfiction imprint, Abrams Press, and it's become apparent that having a backlist and some publishing ballast to build upon makes our task both easier and more fun. I'm confident that the assets--books, authors, and the vision that Peter built at the Overlook Press--will give us myriad opportunities to leverage our text-driven growth strategy at Abrams. Plus, we'll begin to publish fiction, drama, and other narrative forms that complement our existing adult and children's publishing programs."
Beginning this month, Abrams will handle all aspects of the publishing, marketing, and business operations for the Overlook Press's books, including its forthcoming titles. Several employees from the Overlook Press, including longtime associate publisher Tracy Carns, will join Abrams. Sales and distribution of the Overlook Press will be handled by Abrams as soon as existing contractual obligations expire.
The Overlook Press publishes 40 new titles a year, including fiction--literary, commercial, and in translation--history, biography, film and pop culture, music, popular science, sociology, food, art, and drama. Authors include Charles Portis, Mark Helprin, Robert Littell, Susan Hill, Edward Albee, Neil LaBute, Mervyn Peake, Joseph Roth and Milton Glaser.
The Overlook Press also publishes the Collector's Wodehouse, comprising 99 P.G. Wodehouse titles in fine editions, and Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Pig series of children's books. Overlook imprints include Ardis, a list of titles of Russian literature, history, culture, and criticism.