October 20, 2014

Publishing: Peter Workman, Founder of Workman Press, Has Died

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Mr. Workman passed away on Sunday. He was 74.

Here’s a roundup of coverage.

Announcement from Workman Publishing Blog

He was the founder, president and CEO of Workman Publishing Company, one of the largest independent publishers of nonfiction trade books and calendars. In addition to the Workman imprint, the company consists of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Artisan, Storey Books, Timber Press, and HighBridge Audio. He served on the board of the Goddard-Riverside Community Center and the board of Prep-for-Prep; he was a member of the Publishing Committee of UJA-Federation of New York and chairman of the Board of Governors of Yale University Press.

From the NYT:

Peter Workman, the founder of Workman Publishing, whose knack for landing best-selling trade books like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” and “The Silver Palate Cookbook” made his company one of the few remaining independent book publishers in the country, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan.  

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Mr. Workman also created “Brain Quest,” a popular learning card game for children, and the “Page-a-Day” desk calendar, said to have been the first of its kind, with its 365 tear-off pages and a different image on each page. Workman Publishing first marketed it in 1979.

Publishing about 40 books a year, Mr. Workman was known for working closely with authors and editors (more so than they might like; he often changed cover designs and details at the last minute) and for promoting his book list relentlessly.

From Publishers Weekly:

 To diversify the publisher, Peter made a series of acquisitions over the years; the Workman Publishing group now includes Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Artisan, Storey Books, Timber Press, and HighBridge Audio, and it also handles distribution for Black Dog & Leventhal, Greenwich Workshop Press, and The Experiment.

From the AP:

After a job in the sales department of Dell Publishing, he founded Workman in 1967 as a book packager. Within two years, its inaugural list led with Richard Hittleman’s “Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan,” which is still in print.

Workman bestsellers also include are B. Kliban’s “Cat,” Sandra Boynton’s children’s books, and “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” Artisan published chef Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry Cookbook.”

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Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.