Bolt on Acquisitions & Imprints
Seem to be the order of the day for Bloomsbury and nice, niche plays at that. Following the arrival of Bloomsbury Academic in September, the acquisition of Berg only a short time later, and the rather clever Wisden acquisition Bloomsbury today announced that they had acquired Arden Shakespeare from Cengage and would return it to the Muthuen Drama [which was itself only acquired by Bloomsbury in 2006] imprint where it originated away back in 1899.
Reference is the star
What interests me about all of this is the way in which Bloomsbury is developing is almost in complete opposition to its original source of growth (ie Harry Potter). The academic list and the expansion of A&C Black (which has turned out gems like Don’ts for Wives & Don’ts for Husbands) is proving a nice route for the publisher.
Is this the future?
It further occurs to me that nearly all the moves place them in a position to exploit the brand potential of all these properties and to do that through new digital avenues if and when they choose to. All told Bloomsbury has acquired or built a tidy little reference and academic division featuring quality brands and properties. I think we may see more small acquisitions along this line over the next few years.
It is entirely possible, if seemingly unlikely, that in a decade we will know Bloomsbury more for reference and niche publishing than for Potter!