TeleRead sold to North American Publishing Company—but you’ll still see familiar bylines except for mine
February 10, 2010 | 3:51 pm
TeleRead, the oldest English-language site devoted to general e-book news and views, is now owned by the Gadgetell subsidiary of North American Publishing Company (NAPCO). We closed the deal today.
I’m leaving as editor-publisher, but Co-Editor Paul Biba (left photo) will remain—as full editor. What’s more, Senior Writer Chris Meadows (right), the second most frequent contributor, will stay. Both Paul and Chris have been e-book-lovers for eons, and publications ranging from the New York Times to the Guardian have quoted Paul over the years. Under Paul, who has supplied most of TeleRead’s posts since September 2008 and managed it day to day, you’ll continue to be able to speak up for or against DRM and share your thoughts on e-book formats or the Macmillan-Amazon controversy.
Started to advocate well-stocked national digital library systems, a cause still dear to me, TeleRead has been online in one form or another since 1992, when I was posting the library plan on CompuServe. Nowadays we draw close to 100,000 unique visitors a month and are among the world’s primary sources of e-book news for readers, writers, editors, agents and publishers. Among other things, TeleRead prodded the main trade group, the International Digital Publishing Forum, into finally going ahead with a consumer-level standard for e-books; and today the Sony Reader, the new Apple iPad and countless other machines can read files formatted in ePub.
To our current mix of news and views, Paul will be able to add hot tech items picked up from the Gadgetell tech blog and NAPCO’s other online and offline publications. Based in Philadelphia and founded by the philanthropist Irvin Borowsky, a commercial printer at the age of 12, NAPCO dates back to 1958, and some 150 people work there. The company runs 16 magazines in addition to such online enterprises as email newsletters and the Gagetell blog. Among the Borowsky family’s past holdings was the magazine that became TV Guide. What’s more, according to Wikipedia, NAPCO pioneered magazine marketing at supermarket checkout counters. Now it can join in the coverage and popularization of e-books.
Our sale to NAPCO happened for several reasons. We needed more resources to survive the remainder of this recession and compete with the growing number of other e-book-related sites. Also, I suffered a heart attack in 2008 and prefer to spend my mornings—when I’m at my freshest—on walking and other cardio-exercise rather than reading RSS feeds. My father made it to 86 despite his own heart attack, and I’d like to do the same. Along the way, I want to devote more time to reading p-books and e-books, not just writing about them. I may even perpetrate a few more books of my own. I’ll miss TeleRead and the gifted people who have contributed to it, but there’s no halfway; I don’t want to be just semi-retired from here. Paul needs to be free to run his own shop. So except for some advisory work behind the scenes and maybe some occasional contributions, I’m out by choice.
Special thanks to the people who kindly helped me over the years. My appreciation in particular to Jon Noring, Chris Meadows, Branko Collin, Robert Nagle, Roger Sperberg, and, of course, Paul himself, a retired international corporate lawyer in New Jersey, who kept TeleRead alive at a time when I feared I soon might not be. Update: I should also have mentioned Michael Cairns, Karen Holt and Laura Dawson, my consultants during the acquisition period. They acted not for money but out of concern for my health—and interest in TeleRead’s survival as a resource for the e-book community. Talk about generosity!
To respect copyright law, we’ll be sending out forms to allow Jon, Chris and others to keep their work online under the new business model. If you’re among our contributors, I hope you’ll sign promptly and help us preserve the historical record.
Meanwhile, from snowy Alexandria, Virginia—happy e-booking!
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TeleRead e-book site acquired by North American Publishing Company
PHILADELPHIA, PA and ALEXANDRIA, VA (Feb. 10, 2010) – North American Publishing Company (NAPCO) of Philadelphia, PA announced today that Gadgetell, a division of NAPCO, has acquired TeleRead.org, a Web Site covering global e-book news based in Alexandria, VA.
TeleRead covers daily and long-term developments for readers, writers, editors, publishers and sellers of e-books, as well as for librarians. Created in the 1990s, it is believed to be the oldest English-language Web site devoted to general e-book news and views.
The site’s opinion posts helped spur the creation of the ePub standard used for e-books by Sony Readers and other products, including Apple’s iBooks e-reading software for the iPad.
According to David Rothman, the founder of TeleRead, who is stepping down as editor-publisher, the time was ripe for moving the popular site to a publisher with more resources.
Philadelphia-based North American Publishing (NAPCO) publishes more than 16 leading trade magazines including Book Business, Printing Impressions, Target Marketing and Publishing Executive.
“We’re delighted to have acquired TeleRead and to benefit from the diversity of viewpoints in its global digital community,” said Ned Borowsky, president of NAPCO. “E-Books is the hot topic! We have been covering it extensively in the pages of Book Business magazine, through our webinars and virtual shows, as well as at our upcoming conference Publishing Business Conference & Expo this March (www.publishingbusiness.com). TeleRead will dramatically add to the conversation and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Borowsky said TeleRead will continue in its present format. Co-editor Paul Biba in Bernardsville, NJ, will succeed Rothman as editor of the digital newsletter.
Rothman intends to focus on books and movie scripts, including marketing of The Solomons Scandals, his recently published Washington newspaper novel.
About TeleRead: The TeleRead digital community is one of the most popular Web sites devoted to general developments in the e-book industry, which accounts for about four percent of the overall $32 billion U.S. book publishing market.
About North American Publishing Company: Founded in 1958, North American Publishing Company (NAPCO) is a family-owned business with publications, face-to-face and virtual trade shows, educational and online services covering multiple markets: direct marketing, publishing, retail, e-commerce, graphic arts, promotional products, consumer electronics, packaging, and more. Additional information about NAPCO is available on the Web at www.napco.com
Tags: North American Publishing Company, NAPCO, TeleRead, e-books, ebooks, publishing, book publishing, magazines, Web sites, media, Ned Borowsky, Irvin Borowsky, David Rothman, David H. Rothman, The Solomon Scandals