Feeling the merge

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Last week, the Perseus Books Group—which oversees imprints including Da Capo, Public Affairs and Basic Books—announced a massive corporate restructuring. Among other things, the company ordered the slow death of imprints Carroll & Graff, which has become a preeminent publisher of gay and lesbian lit, and Thunder's Mouth.

But as Perseus falters, other publishers are growing fast. Winton, Shoemaker & Co.—a new venture headed by Charlie Winton—recently purchased Counterpoint Press from Perseus. Earlier this year it bought Shoemaker & Hoard. And today, it announced its acquisition of Soft Skull Press.

This may seem odd, as Soft Skull has long trumpeted its DIY, anticorporate status. But the acquisition could also prove that mergers don't always result in tame, safe content. For now, it appears that Soft Skull's independent spirit will remain intact: Head honcho Richard Nash will stay at the helm as an editor. If all goes well, some financial backing could actually help Soft Skull—which has published books by Matthew Sharpe, Douglas Martin, Lynne Tillman and Eileen Myles, among others—continue to develop its impressive stable of authors.

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