Prometheus Books has entered a multi-year deal with Random House Publisher Services to have the publishing giant sell and distribute books it publishes, an arrangement that could greatly increase sales and the company’s profile in the publishing world.
“This is really huge news for us; it’s a big deal,” said Jill Maxick, vice president of marketing for Amherst-based Prometheus. “Not only is it completely changing a core aspect of our business, but now we have the resources of the world’s largest general-interest, trade-book publisher at our disposal.”
Prometheus, in business for 44 years, is an independent publisher of categories including science, critical thinking, history, psychology, true crime and, more recently, science fiction and fantasy.
The company was founded in 1969 by the late Paul Kurtz, a University at Buffalo professor, philosopher and writer, who also founded the Amherst-based Center for Inquiry. Over the years, Prometheus has published several best-sellers including, “God: The Failed Hypothesis” by Victor J. Stenger; “What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite” by David DiSalvo; and George H. Smith’s “Atheism: The Case Against God.”
The company has three imprints – names works are published under – and it publishes about 110 new nonfiction and genre fiction titles each year. It had done its own distribution for individuals and national chains.
Maxick said Prometheus had been wooed for years by distributors, and began negotiating with Random House Publisher Services, a division of Random House Inc., four years ago.
“We have been in conversations with Prometheus for some time now, as we have admired how they’ve expanded upon their truly smart and engaging lists, season over season,” said Jeff Abraham, president of Random House Publisher Services. “Their successes over the last four decades and continued growth potential across numerous genres marry well with our expertise and deep customer relationships in both the print and digital markets. We will be a committed sales and distribution partner with Prometheus.”
The partnership is not a merger; Prometheus will remain independent, Maxick noted. It’s only hiring Random House as contractor to provide service for one aspect of its business.
“As a partnership, it’s an ideal complement to what we already achieved over the last 44 years,” Maxick said. “Random House Publisher is extremely selective. The fact they sought us out is an endorsement for what we have to offer the reading marketplace.”
“This isn’t just a distributor, it’s Random House,” she said. With the deal, “Our ability to sell through to more consumers is greatly enhanced.”