When it comes to niche content, F+W Media is forward thinking. The company is a special interest content provider and marketer of enthusiast magazines, books, conferences, trade shows, and interactive media properties. Publications are organized around some 20 community-based units, each of which focuses on a particular special interest category, such as writing, fine arts, design, and sports. F+W publishes more than 30 magazines, including Antique Trader, The Artist's Magazine, and Rural Builder. The company also publishes about 600 new book titles annually, and has a library of some 4,000 titles. In addition, F + W owns special interest publisher Adams Media.
The company sells content through about 20 online stores built around such F+W brands as writersdigestshop.com and woodworkersbookshop.com. It also operates the collaborative e-commerce site Shop.Everything.com. To support its e-commerce operations, in 2012 the company acquired The Martha Pullen Company, whose assets include an e-commerce business as well as Sew Beautiful Magazine; 10 consumer and trade live events; websites, DVDs, books, and consumer online subscription pattern programs; and the TV program Martha's Sewing Room which airs on many PBS stations.
The company expanded again in 2012 when it purchased Aspire Media LLC, parent company of Interweave, a print and digital art and craft enthusiast media company. Interweave owns and operates 15 consumer art and craft magazines; more than 30 special newsstand publications; 350 craft books; 33 websites; 10 online communities; 10 e-commerce stores; 11 consumer events; and video workshops. The previous year F + W entered the fiction market with the acquisition of crime fiction publisher Tyrus Books.
Among the company's twelve Trade and Consumer events is Digital Book World, which F+W launched in 2010. The event is designed to help publishing professionals, booksellers, librarians, authors, and technology vendors navigate the industry's transition from print to digital. F+W's other digital efforts include building up its library of eBooks, which reached some 750 titles in 2010. Through a partnership with books and entertainment distributor Baker & Taylor, in 2010 F+W released eBooks on Baker & Taylor's Blio e-reader software application.
F+W Media was founded in 1913 by Ed Rosenthal, whose grandson, Richard H. Rosenthal, sold the firm to Citicorp Venture Capital in 1999. PRIMEDIA co-founder William Reilly and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners next bought the specialty publisher in 2002 from Citicorp. Media-focused private equity firm ABRY Partners bought F+W in 2005 for $500 million. In 2010 the company restructured its debt. As part of the financial restructuring, ABRY is no longer the majority owner, though it does retain a small share of the company.