International Notes: Catapult Takes Counterpoint Onboard, OverDrive Takes Pimsleur Offshore

In News by Porter Anderson

A significant merger in influential independent publishers in the US, and a new wholesale distribution deal for a language-training program outside the States.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Acquisition: Catapult Buys Counterpoint
The California-based independent publisher Counterpoint has been bought by literary independent publisher Catapult. The move marks the step-down from day-to-day running of Counterpoint CEO Charlie Winton, but he’ll retain a relationship with the operation as editor at large.

And while the action occasions some changes in leadership, it seems to be structured in order to keep all components running as healthily as possible.

Catapult logo linedCatapult’s publisher is Andy Hunter, who spoke in June at Publishing Perspectives’ Rights and Content in the Digital Age conference in New York. Hunter now is to take the role of publisher at Counterpoint. Both Catapult and Counterpoint are expected to continue producing with Jack Shoemaker and Dan Smetanka continuing their editorial direction. Soft Skull Press, which had become part of Counterpoint, is to return to New York City from California under the direction of Yuka Igarashi.

Counterpoint Press logo linedIn a prepared statement, Hunter says, “Counterpoint is one of the most important independent publishers in the United States, with an incredible list of literary fiction, incisive political nonfiction, and a countercultural ethos that makes it urgent and necessary. Our goal is to support and continue the legacy Charlie Winton and his team have built, while innovating in our marketing and digital initiatives to make Counterpoint books an increasingly important part of our cultural conversation.”

For his part, Winton is quoted saying, “The merger with Catapult is an ideal transition and it will allow Counterpoint and Soft Skull to remain independent and vital. I believe Catapult and its team will contribute energy and passion, which will allow them to build on our formidable foundation and our commitment to developing strong and lasting relationships with our authors.”

The complete text of the announcement of the acquisition and transition is here.

Distribution: Pimsleur Language Program Goes International

OverDrive logo linedOverDrive, the Rakuten-owned digital distributor to world libraries, has announced its agreement with Simon & Schuster to become the exclusive digital wholesaler outside the USA to S&S’ Pimsleur Language Programs to public and school libraries.

OverDrive will distribute Pimsleur products to US public libraries and world corporate libraries, as well, but on a non-exclusive basis. The exclusivity involves public and school libraries outside the States.

Pimsleur logo linedBased in a 30-minutes-for-30-days brand promise, the Pimsleur line offers languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian. Promotional materials say that it integrates vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation into everyday conversations.

On the news of the new international distribution arrangement, OverDrive’s Karen Estrovich, collection development director, is quoted saying, “We’re thrilled to make the Pimsleur Language Program catalog available for lending through our network of 34,000 libraries, schools and colleges worldwide. Millions of library patrons and students can now learn and speak a new language anywhere, anytime on any device.”

OverDrive’s catalog comprises what the company says is 3.3 million ebooks, audiobooks, and streaming video titles from more than 5,000 publishers in 50 languages. The company will offer Pimsleur products in five-lesson and 30-lesson packages.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.