About Kensington Publishing
Kensington Publishing Corp. is known as “America’s Independent Publisher.” Founded in New York City in 1974 by Walter Zacharius it has become a multi-generational family business, Walter’s son Steven Zacharius has succeeded his late father as President and CEO, and Steven’s son Adam joined the company in 2007 as Director of Special Projects and Alternative Media. As the foremost independent commercial publishing house in the United States providing hardcover, trade paperback, mass market, and digital releases, Kensington publishes the books that America wants to read.
The home of many New York Times bestselling authors, including Fern Michaels, Lisa Jackson, Joanne Fluke, William W. Johnstone, and others, Kensington publishes over 500 fiction and non-fiction titles each year. Its imprints include Zebra, Pinnacle, Dafina, Citadel and Lyrical Press, all well known for providing readers with books in a range of popular genres such as romance, women’s fiction, African American and young adult fiction as well as true-crime, western, mystery, and nonfiction titles.
2014 marked Kensington Publishing Corp’s 40th year in business, and it is the last remaining independent U.S. publisher of hardcover, trade and mass market paperback books. From the time its 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. In addition to the close 500 new books, the company releases through its diverse imprints per year, it has a backlist of more than 3,000 titles. Kensington is considered a leader and innovator in such areas of publishing as African-American, cozy mysteries, westerns, and of course, romance.
Since its founding in 1974, Kensington has introduced the world to dozens of bestselling writers and developed countless marketing innovations while remaining steadfastly independent. The staff totals over 85 employees, many whom have been with us for over 25 years. Kensington boasts both a dedicated on-staff sales team as well as the full strength of Penguin Random House Publisher Services’ global sales force. 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
As Kensington Publishing continues into our fifth decade as an independent publisher, we, like the entire industry, have gone through tremendous changes since our founding by my father, Walter Zacharius, who unfortunately passed away in March 2011. For the first time in over 20 years, we changed distributors in 2015, moving to Penguin Random House Publisher’s Services (PRHPS).
This partnership with Penguin Random House Publisher Services expanded our sales force and affords our books and authors increased penetration into numerous markets. It also provides us with valuable point-of-sales information, warehousing, shipping, and systems that have long been known to be the best in the business. We maintain our talented Kensington sales team who sell the wholesalers, mass merchandisers and book jobbers as they have in years past, while PRHPS serves as our full service distributor and handles accounts including independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, the Canadian market and all of our international business. They also handle much of the activity of the eBook business, although Kensington is still heavily involved in selling and marketing to these accounts.
Kensington remains the largest independent firm to publish in the paperback field. We started as a historical romance publisher in 1974 with an investment of $67,000. Since then we have grown in the number of people we employ, the number of books we publish, and the range of genres that our titles represent. Even as we continue to grow and evolve, we remain a family business. My son, Adam Zacharius, who had worked for us on the West Coast, moved to the New York office shortly after my father passed away and sits behind the desk my father used for his 35-plus years in the office. He’s now heading up Lyrical Press, our digital first imprint.
Some 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.
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 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 thank you for supporting our company, and I want you to know that I enjoy answering all of my email from readers and writers. I truly answer every email that I receive whether it be praise, criticism, or just general correspondence.
A lot of work goes into our website to make it user friendly, informative and enjoyable to readers. We hope you enjoy it.
Chairman, President & CEO