Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s trade & reference division has acquired John Wiley’s culinary portfolio plus reference works published under the Webster’s New World Dictionary and CliffsNotes brands. The acquisition will add about 1,500 titles to HMH, increasing the company’s presence in both the cookbook and reference areas. “The combination of Wiley’s culinary, reference, and CliffsNotes lines with our existing business will significantly strengthen HMH’s market position in both the culinary and reference categories,” said Gary Gentel, president of HMH’s trade & reference division.
Included in the purchase are Wiley’s cookbook collection that includes the flagship Betty Crocker series, in addition to other General Mills-branded lines; the Better Homes and Gardens line licensed from Meredith Corp.; Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything franchise – including the bestselling culinary app for iOS; and high-profile authors such as Rose Levy Beranbaum, Marcus Samuelsson and Ellie Krieger. The Wiley titles will be added to HMH’s cookbook list that already features Jacques Pépin, Dorie Greenspan, The Gourmet Cookbook and the Hello, Cupcake! franchise.
As part of the deal, Natalie Chapman, v-p and publisher at Wiley, will join HMH to manage the entire HMH culinary program, reporting to Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of HMH’s general interest group. HMH is also giving senior executive editor Rux Martin her own imprint, Rux Martin Books, that will be part of the culinary program.
HMH will add the Webster’s dictionary titles to its American Heritage family of dictionaries, while CliffsNotes will continue to publish test-preparation and literature study guides for high school and college students. The purchase also includes CliffsNotes.com, which maintains over two million unique visitors per month.
In addition to Chapman, HMH said a number of other Wiley editorial, marketing, publicity, and production staff will join HMH as part of the acquisition.
This is Wiley’s second deal since it announced in March it was looking to divest certain consumer properties. Previously it sold Frommer’s to Google. Other properties on the block are in the general interest, nautical, pets (Howell House), crafts areas.