Courier Corporation, a large US book manufacturer and content management provider, has agreed a deal to sell its self-publishing service provider and writing community FastPencil back to former owner Steve Wilson. Wilson and Michael Ashley founded FastPencil in 2007, but sold it to Courier six years later for $5 million. While outwardly FastPencil has grown — providing the publishing engine and software to power Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press, On Demand Books’ SelfEspress, Books-A-Million’s BAM Publishing , and a link up partnership with Evernote — its financial status has been very uncertain. Courier had to absorb losses a year after it purchased FastPencil (a $6 million writedown for the 2014 fiscal year) and the pair have always been curious bedfellows.
With R. R. Donnelley’s takeover of Courier due to be completed later this year in a $261 million deal, Courier never quite seemed to know what to do with its newly acquired self-publishing division, FastPencil.
Certainly one man happy is FastPencil’s founder Steve Wilson who told Publisher’s Weekly that it “made sense to get the company back” when it was clear the R. R. Donnelley acquisition of Courier was going ahead.
FastPencil has published several thousand titles and its writing community numbers about 125,000 authors.