At Sourcebooks, we embrace change—it’s been the one thrilling constant amid thirty-plus years of the Sourcebooks story.
It all started in 1987 when a determined Dominique Raccah left a promising career with advertising giant Leo Burnett, cashed in $17,000 from her 401(k) plan, and launched a publishing house from her upstairs bedroom in Naperville, Illinois. She called it Sourcebooks.
Over the years, Sourcebooks has grown and flourished by following its independent vision and by publishing extraordinary authors and unique books with readers in mind. Noted for its strong publicity and marketing efforts on behalf of its authors and retail partners, Sourcebooks stands today as one of the leading and largest independent publishers in North America.
Founded with just one book, Sourcebooks initially focused on publishing professional finance titles, books for bankers, and how-to books for small-business owners.
Sourcebooks soon began expanding beyond business and finance with a highly successful gift book for women titled Finding Time, followed by 1001 Beauty Solutions, published in partnership with Sally Beauty Supply. These books led to Sourcebooks’s first six-figure print runs and furthered its reach into other general trade books and non-bookstore markets.
EXPANSION AND INNOVATION
Just ten years after its conception, Sourcebooks was listed by trade magazine Publishers Weekly as among 1997’s ten fastest-growing small publishers in the United States. Its 1999 appearance at number two on that list was Sourcebooks’s final time on the list—the publisher could no longer be classified as “small.” Sourcebooks’s sales figures also reflected its success by doubling every two years during this period.
Sourcebooks’s growth has also been the result of corporate acquisitions that continue to thrive today. In 1996, Sourcebooks added Casablanca Press with its relationship-oriented self-help books, including the legendary bestseller 1001 Ways to Be Romantic. Now dubbed Sourcebooks Casablanca, the imprint has evolved into one of the world’s largest publishers of romance fiction.
Sourcebooks’s growth accelerated rapidly from there. In 1998, the publisher broke all boundaries with We Interrupt This Broadcast by Joe Garner, a mixed-media book featuring two compact discs with integrated content. It was also by far Sourcebooks’s largest first printing, and it went on to become Sourcebooks’s first New York Times bestseller. The brilliant pairing of live audio with photographs and the written word generated enormous interest within the bookselling community.
In 1999, the sports-themed follow-up, And the Crowd Goes Wild, was an immediate sensation, spending nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
The new century dawned brightly as Sourcebooks celebrated January 2000 with two titles on the first New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list of the twenty-first century. Shortly thereafter, it became the only book publisher named to that year's prestigious Inc. 500, the annual ranking of America’s fastest-growing companies.
In 2001, Sourcebooks reinvigorated the way Americans experience poetry with Poetry Speaks, a book and three-CD combination featuring noted poets like Tennyson and Plath reading their own work. This remarkable anthology, a Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestseller, was lauded by Publishers Weekly as having “the potential to draw more readers to poetry than any collection in years.”
BUILDING OUR MOMENTUM
The year 2001 also featured the launch of our fiction imprint, Sourcebooks Landmark, so named to reflect the quality, value, and longevity of its books. Bookseller favorite Michael Malone led the initial author roster, returning to writing fiction after a ten-year absence with the New York Times bestseller First Lady.
Sourcebooks again claimed space on bestseller lists in 2003, placing Charles Cerami's engrossing history Jefferson's Great Gamble on the New York Times nonfiction list. At the same time, chef Cary Neff's unique and flavorful style landed his cookbook Conscious Cuisine on Oprah and the New York Times list.
In 2004, Sourcebooks developed its first calendar list, dedicated to publishing unique and content-oriented wall and box calendars. Well known for its bestselling edgy political calendars, the successful line grows each year, with hits like The History Channel This Day in History, National Parks Wall Calendar, and Amy Knapp’s Family Organizer.
The publisher took an audacious detour in 2005, releasing its first children’s picture book, Poetry Speaks to Children. The unique grouping of poems, illustrations, and a CD of poets reading their work delighted booksellers and found its way into the hearts of parents, teachers, and children alike, landing it on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. The title eventually marked the springboard for the launch of Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, the children’s imprint, which started in 2007.
Though a fresh face in the children’s section, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky quickly established several bestsellers, including the picture book I Love You More by Laura Duksta, illustrated by Karen Keesler, as well as the revolutionary book-plus-CD poetry anthology Hip Hop Speaks to Children, edited by Nikki Giovanni. In 2010, children’s and gift book author Marianne Richmond joined the imprint, launching her new line with the cornerstone picture book If I Could Keep You Little.
The extension of our Sourcebooks Casablanca imprint into romance fiction was formalized in 2007, and late in 2008, legendary independent publisher Cumberland House joined Sourcebooks as an imprint, bringing with it notable New York Times bestsellers from Gregory E. Lang.
Sourcebooks Fire, an imprint committed to bringing exciting young adult fiction and nonfiction to both teen and adult audiences, was created in 2010. Sourcebooks Fire soon became one of the most powerful voices in the young adult category and includes bestselling titles like Marieke Nijkamp’s Before I Let Go, Natasha Preston’s The Cellar, and many more. Nijkamp’s debut, This Is Where It Ends, spent more than 60 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, becoming the longest-running title on the Times young adult hardcover list since the list’s inception.
In 2012, Sourcebooks dove into the world of personalized storytelling by launching Put Me In The Story. Personalizing books from bestselling authors, illustrators, and beloved brands created a new connection between children and the books they read.
Sourcebooks expanded again in 2013 with the acquisition of Simple Truths, focusing on gift books with themes such as teamwork, leadership, and inspiration.
The bestselling 1-2-3 Magic parenting series by Thomas Phelan joined Sourcebooks in 2016. 1-2-3 Magic is a cornerstone in the parenting category, combining timeless advice with a relatable voice and up-to-date content.
Sourcebooks acquired the publishing rights to Little Pickle Press in 2017, adding to its children’s nonfiction list titles such as the beloved growth mindset book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain and the What Does It Mean to Be…?® series.
CONTINUING OUR STORY
The Sourcebooks story is not one of just bestseller lists and major accomplishments. It’s also the story of its roster of thousands of talented authors and an ever-growing number of hard-working, book-loving employees.
Today, Sourcebooks continues to publish authors in countless subjects and styles and in formats both classically physical and dynamically digital. The eclectic and exciting breadth of its list is unmatched. Its future is guided by its continuing commitment to reaching readers with books that will illuminate, inspire, and enlighten their lives.
To be continued…