About Kensington Publishing
Established in 1974, Kensington, America's independent publisher, located in New York City, is the foremost independent publishing house in the United States publishing in hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market. We publish over 500 books annually in both fiction and non-fiction. Kensington has sweeping and diverse imprints, including Kensington, Citadel Press, Dafina Books, Zebra Books, Pinnacle Books, Brava, Aphrodisia, K-Teen and our digital imprints eKensington and the newly acquired Lyrical Press. These imprints are well-known for popular women's fiction, African-American titles, multicultural young adult fiction, nonfiction, as well as true crime, Western, and mystery titles. Kensington continues to be the foremost American publisher of romance novels.
Kensington Publishing Corp. is the last remaining independent U.S. publisher of hardcover, trade and mass market paperback books. This year marks our 40th year in business. From the time our very first book (Appointment in Dallas by Hugh McDonald), became a bestseller, Kensington has been known as an astute and determined David-vs.-Goliath publisher of titles in the full spectrum of categories, from fiction and romance to health and nonfiction. Through the Kensington, Zebra, Pinnacle and Citadel press imprints, the company releases close to 500 new books per year and has a backlist of more than 3,000 titles. We are considered a leader and innovator in such areas of publishing as African-American (Dafina), Gay and Lesbian, and of course romance.
The Kensington staff now totals close to 90 employees who take their inspiration from its late founder Walter Zacharius. During his distinguished 50 year publishing career he introduced dozens of bestselling writers, and developed countless marketing innovations. Steven Zacharius, became President and Chief Executive Officer of Kensington in 2005. Kensington boasts a dedicated sales force—men and women both in the home office in New York and in the field around the country, with their fingers on the pulse of the market. The company is able to respond quickly to trends, to put books into the hands of readers faster than larger publishers can, and to support them with targeted promotional and marketing programs to generate reader excitement.
Kensington continues to be a full-range publisher large enough to command respect in the market, yet small enough to maintain author, reader and retailer loyalty.
Letter from President
This year, 2014, will mark Kensington Publishing's 40th year as an independent publisher. Like the entire publishing industry, Kensington has gone through many changes since its founding by my father, Walter Zacharius, who unfortunately passed away in March, 2011. This past year has shown continuing consolidation in our business as the two of the largest publishers, Penguin and Random House, combined to form one behemoth company that publishes over 40% of all trade titles. The power of the publishing industry has been consolidated into the “Big 5” companies, which are, Penguin Random, Harper Collins, Hachette, Von Hotzbrinck and Simon and Schuster. Harper Collins just recently acquired the largest romance publisher, the Canadian owned firm, Harlequin. All of these companies are billion-dollar publishing entities and several are foreign owned. Penguin Random and Von Holtzbrinck are German companies, and Hachette is French owned. Harper Collins is owned by the News Corp. (Rupert Murdoch’s firm) and Simon and Schuster is owned by Viacom.
We’ve also continued to see continued consolidation in the amount of remaining outlets where books are sold. There is one large wholesaler remaining that distributes to supermarkets, newsstands and drug stores when there used to be over 750 wholesalers fifty years ago. The rest of the U.S. business is concentrated into less than ten major accounts and a greatly reduced base of independent bookstores. Fortunately the library business is still strong and the growth of eBooks has offset the decline of physical space for printed books.
Kensington remains as the only large independent firm to publish in the paperback field. We started as a historical romance publisher in 1974 with an investment of $67,000; it has now grown into a company with about 90 employees and publishes over 500 books annually in many genres, including women's fiction, mysteries, thrillers, westerns, true-crime, young adult, and commercial nonfiction.
Many people ask why an author would choose to be published at Kensington instead of one of the larger companies. The answer is that although this is becoming a much more technologically based industry, we are still a "people" company. There isn't another company where every author has the opportunity to meet and deal with everyone in the firm, including the top management team. We treat every writer as a part of our family. Our employees and our authors are very loyal and rarely leave: many employees have been with us for over 25 years, and we have published some of our authors since the company was founded.
My plan is to continue to grow our business to become THE largest independent publisher in the country. My son, Adam Zacharius, who had worked for us on the West Coast is now in the New York office and sits behind the desk my father used for his 35-plus years in the office. He’s now heading up our digital imprints, eKensington and our newly acquired imprint, Lyrical Press.
There's something special and unique about being a family-owned business. It's hard to put into words, but if you were to ask any of our authors or employees, they could probably explain it better than I could. I’m confident that we’re the only large publisher to have had three generations in the business and I have three grandchildren (so far), in the wings, to hopefully continue this tradition. I enjoy answering all of my e-mail from readers and writers, and I thank you for supporting our company. I truly answer every email that I receive whether it be criticism, praise or just general correspondence.
A lot of work has gone into another major redesign of our website to make it more user friendly, informative and enjoyable to readers. We hope you enjoy it.
Chairman, President & CEO