TeleRead sold to North American Publishing Company—but you’ll still see familiar bylines except for mine

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.

imageimageI’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.

image 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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Jointly approved official news release from Anvil Brokers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Noel Griese, 770-938-0289 or ngriese@anvilpub.com

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.

Noel Griese of Anvil Brokers of Atlanta handled details of the acquisition. Michael Cairnes, Karen Holt and Laura Dawson served as consultants to Rothman during the acquisition period.

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

27 Comments on TeleRead sold to North American Publishing Company—but you’ll still see familiar bylines except for mine

  1. Best of luck to you!

  2. David,

    Congratulations on the sale. Who would have thought a little blog could grow so big? I’ll miss your insights and provocative thoughts on our little industry (which shows signs of becoming a bigger industry all the time). I wish you the very best of luck with your health and future endeavors.

    Stay in touch and keep me posted on what you’re up to.

    Rob Preece
    Publisher

  3. Wow! I never expected this. Congratulations on the sale, I always love to see blogs move up and on.

    @David – We’ll certainly miss you. I hope you pop in from time to time with a guest post – or at least to say hi.

    @Paul & Chris – Teleread is still in good hands and I’ll continue to read your posts daily.

  4. Congratulations David! I’m sad to see you go, but happy to hear that Teleread will live on in capable hands. This really is great validation for the work the whole Teleread team has done over the years.

  5. Thanks, everyone! TeleRead is indeed in great hands with Paul Biba, and I’m thrilled that Chris Meadows will be writing not just for this site but also other NAPCO publications.

    So you’ll know, the dr@teleread.com address belongs to NAPCO now. I’m reachable at davidrothman@pobox.com and 703-370-6540.

    I’ll be writing on non-ebook matters at solomonsandals.com (devoted to my novel) and davidrothman.com (currently redirected to the site for The Solomon Scandals).

    Cheers,
    David

  6. Congratulations, David, Paul, Chris, and to all the followers and contributors who have helped to make Teleread an amazing and venerable enterprise.

    I’m looking forward to watching this, and continuing to read daily posts from Paul and Chris.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  7. Since I started reading Teleread (early 2009), I got used with DR’s deep, intense opinions about e-books and it’s market. I learned a lot from his thoughts and I am deeply grateful for that.

    “Gang, what do you think?” – I’ll miss too.

    Good luck to David, a lot of health in your life, and success in your writing career.

    Also, Paul Biba and Chris Meadows, best of luck on your new journey.

  8. Dear David,

    I have been a (mostly silent) follower of your blog since I first discovered it some seven years or so ago while still living in Germany. Good luck with your new endeavors. I am sad to see you go, and excited that some of the “old” contributors will stay on board. The ebook world and this blog have come a looooong way in the past years.

    I just hope that with Teleread now being owned by a corporation, it will manage to maintain its refreshing independence.

  9. I have to admit, I’m going to miss seeing David’s posts here, too. Whether I’ve agreed or disagreed with his point of view, it’s always been thoughtful. And I’ve learned a lot about e-books, blogging, and writing from him.

    I’m a little nervous about how we’re going to be going on from here, but I’m excited for all the new opportunities, too.

    Thanks, everyone, for sticking with us so far.

  10. David,

    I was wondering what was going on in the past few weeks as you had not been around here very much.

    I was worried that it might have been related to some new health problem. Glad to hear that is not the case.

    Sorry to see you leave TeleRead but Godspeed in your future endeavors and the best of health to you!!.

  11. David,

    I will certainly miss you.

    Ellen

  12. Best of luck to you David, you have helped to build a really great blog…my personal favorite for a couple of years now. I’m sure Teleread will continue to play a vital role in keeping us all up-to-date on this fast changing industry.

    You will be missed!
    John

  13. Fernando Neubaum // February 11, 2010 at 12:07 am //

    I think it was 2005 when I started searching for information about e-books, and my main concern was that it seemed that everybody was aiming for closed e-readers with closed e-books inside them. Then I found TeleRead with their support for open standards and non DRM’d e-books; and I felt at home. :)

    Nowadays everybody is talking about ebooks and related stuff because it’s fashionable, but not so long ago it wasn’t easy to find information about these subjects on the Internet. As far as I know, David was one of the first not limiting himself to the novelty of reading off a screen; he thought about the possibilities and how these e-books should reach people.
    You and the Teleread contributors have provided this publisher with lots of information and food for the thought from like-minded people, and for that I thank you deeply and wish you all the very best in this new phase.

  14. Congrats folks,
    Dedicated and passion for a topic, plus good content pays off!
    All the best,
    Eoin

  15. Congratulations and may TeleRead go from strength to strength! Some serious resources now are just what the doctor ordered: the e-publishing community owes a debt of gratitude to the whole team, but especially of course to David, for their energy and dedication. I’m especially grateful to David and Paul for their kindness and support.

    And David — good luck with the new book!

  16. David, you will be missed. Do come back occasionally and contribute, as you indicated you might do. Keep up the cardio exercise and and read LOTS of books. I’m glad you will have more time to do both of those. Le chaim!

    As to Paul and Chris, I always look forward to what you have to say. Recently I was so impressed with Chris’s post, The Amazon/Macmillan blow-up: An e-book lover’s appeal for understanding. It brought forth the best dialog I have seen thus far on the topic.

  17. David,
    It was my pleasure to help you out and I am so happy this has turned out so well. Best wishes to you and as others have said I hope we hear from you occasionally.

    Michael

  18. It’s always a bit scary when these buyouts happen (remember WOWIO?) but hopefully the new bosses will, as Andrea says, allow TeleRead to “maintain its refreshing independence.”

    Paul, Chris and the other contributors are producing some fantastic articles so I think we’ll be in safe hands :)

    You’ll be dearly missed David, that is for certain!

    Mike

  19. Congrats on the sale of TeleRead and best of luck in with your future endeavors!

  20. Thanks David for creating this site, which I consider still as *the* ebook forum since the yahoo ebooks group withered on the vine. Enjoy your workouts, your reading, and your writing.

    If there’s one thing I’d like to see from you in future, it’s something with more of a focus on your original dream: ebooks for students, the universal library for schools and academics, the basis of study and culture going forward, in the cloud and on all our devices portable and not. In covering the exciting developments in the ebook device world ever since eink hit the big time with the Kindle, the notion of the universal free library for students has gone into the background, only appearing in very-occasional posts.

    It would be nice if you could set up some site dedicated to this one idea again, and build it up with some occasional posts.

    Best of luck to you. I’ll miss you too.

    pond

  21. David, you’ve earned the luxury of more reading and more writing – enjoy it to the max. You’ve left Teleread in capable hands with Paul and Chris and a host of other excellent contributors. But please, don’t be a stranger to posting your views.

    All the best in the future!

    Rita

  22. Congratulations, David! This is wonderful news. Thank you for your great contribution to the past, present and future of ebooks. Back when I was creating my business plan 2005-2007, Teleread was my primary starting point for industry research and inspiration. It remains today one of my favorite sources for industry news and trends, and it’s so great to hear that both Paul and Chris will continue on. You were also among the first three people I invited to set eyes on a pre-launch early alpha of Smashwords in January 2008 (Joe Wikert and Eoin Purcell were the other two). I recall your advice was, “You have too many bugs to launch in two weeks – do a private beta testing period first.” I’m glad I listened. Wishing you the very best of health and happiness as you pursue your next adventures.

  23. Garson O'Toole // February 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm //

    David, for many years your vision of a comprehensive library of ebooks accessible to all was the magnificent dream espoused by TeleRead. As a commenter and occasional article writer on TeleRead I was attracted by that realizable dream. Congratulations on creating TeleRead and building it into one of the most important resources on the net for news and commentary about ebooks.

    Thanks for your herculean efforts to make the world of ebooks better for all. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

  24. Farewell David, congratulations on the sale but rest assured you will be missed. However, I am glad that Teleread will continue on and in good hands.

    Thanks for all that years when Teleread was one of the very few reliable sources for ebook news.

  25. Wow. This news actually makes me a little sad. Philosophically and politically we agreed on almost nothing but I’ll be damned if you didn’t put together great e-book news site. Congratulations and good luck. I know Paul will do a great job carrying this site into the future.

  26. David, thanks for all you’ve done; congratulations on the sale; and best wishes in your new endeavors.

    I’m sure that you are very pleased to be able to pass the torch to the excellent hands of Paul and Chris.

    Michael Pastore
    50 Benefits of Ebooks

  27. Thanks for Teleread, David.
    It was a good idea at a good time and I hope it grows from here.

    Also many thanks for the pleasant surprise of ‘Feed Ed’s Cats’ and other mentions.
    Hope you’re doing well,
    Ed

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