Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Cincinnati Publishing Scene

Building on our conversation yesterday about pursuing your dreams in the Midwest, I decided to take Cincinnati as an example and see what book publishing action is going on there. I found information on the following companies:

  • F+W Publications: This one is a big player by any city's standards, but especially so in Cincy. In addition to their bread-and-butter special-interest magazines, they also publish books on just about any topic you can name. They recently acquired one of JIST's direct competitors, Adams Media, which publishes the Everything series. They also publish the Writer's Digest books. I talked with a couple of their guys at BookExpo in March, who seemed to disparage living in Cincy. But they said they loved Indy, so go figure--the grass is always greener on the other side of I-74?

  • Emmis Books: An offshoot of Indianapolis radio/magazine conglomerate Emmis Communications, this company is headquarted in Cincinnati because Emmis stole someone from F+W who preferred to stay in town. They publish regional-interest books that "have both a universal appeal and a distinct sense of place, with a nod to the past and a bright eye on the future." I do wonder what's up with them, though. The parent company hasn't been doing well, and the publishers site looks like it hasn't been updated in over a year.

  • Standard Publishing: This is JIST's new step-sister company, owned by the same private equity firm in NYC. "Wait 'til you get your BMWs!" the sales manager joked to me at BookExpo. Standard publishes Christian educational books for kids, teens, and adults.

  • Menasha Ridge: Although its website says it's located in Alabama, it's in the BookExpo database as being headquartered in Cincinnati (anybody know what's up with that?). Menasha specializes in travel and adventure books, and formerly published the Unofficial Guides for Frommer's.
  • University of Cincinnati Digital Press: Electronically publishes material on Native Americans and the West. They don't actually print their books, which saves them a ton of money. They hire student interns.

I found a handful of very small self-publishers as well, but they generally don't have the means to hire anyone. But they are still possibilities to volunteer and get some experience. There are also the usual newspaper and magazine publishers. Althogether, not a bad showing for a small Midwestern city.


Jim Minatel said...

One other big publisher just outside of Cincy is Thompson Higher Ed. They're in Mason OH, about 20 miles north of downtown Cincy I think, close to the Kings Island area. I believe that this office is what's left of the old South-Western Publishing from prior to the Thompson acquisition. Unfortunately I couldn't make a good guess anymore as to how many people work in that Mason office.

BTW, glad to have found your blog through Joe's. Great to see you blogging, great work you are going with it!

Lori Cates Hand said...

Thanks for the helpful addition, Jim! It's hard to keep track of the regional operations of the major educational publishers (especially given all the mergers and acquisitions they go through).