Illustrated book publisher Abrams has acquired The Overlook Press, an independent publishing house founded by the late publishing executive Peter Mayer.
Beginning in August, Abrams will take over editorial and marketing operations of The Overlook Press; sales and distribution will be transferred to Abrams at the end of the press’ current distribution contracts. Some current employees of the Overlook Press, including publisher Tracy Carns, will make the move to Abrams.
Mayer’s daughter Liese Mayer described the acquisition as “a wonderful new chapter” for the indie, which was cofounded by her father and grandfather and specialized in publishing “an eclectic list of vital but overlooked books.”
The Overlook Press publishes about 40 new titles a year in the categories of fiction, history, biography, pop culture, science, sociology, and art. The house has a backlist of more than 1,300 titles; among its authors are Edward Albee, Joseph Roth, Milton Glaser, Mark Helprin and P.G. Wodehouse.
Peter Mayer, a renowned and charismatic publishing figure, cofounded the press in 1971. Mayer (along with his father) launched the press while he was president of Avon Books. After his stint as chairman and CEO of the Penguin Group, from 1978 to 1997, Mayer returned to Overlook and ran it full-time. He remained Overlook’s president until his death earlier this year.
Abrams CEO Michael Jacobs called the acquisition of The Overlook Press “a good strategic fit” for Abrams. “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.”