To the Taunton Community –
When my parents Paul and Jan Roman launched Fine Woodworking from our kitchen table almost 50 years ago, my family’s lives changed in ways we couldn’t anticipate. We didn’t know how many people would be informed and inspired in doing the crafts and activities that brought them joy and gratification. We didn’t know how many creative, dedicated, and genuinely nice people we would have the honor of working with over the years. We didn’t know how many talented contributors would generously share their hard-earned expertise within our communities. We didn’t know how well we would be treated by business partners helping us get our products to market. We couldn’t anticipate the ingenuity it would take as independent publishers to keep the needs of our customers front and center and to earn their respect.
It has been quite a journey. After Fine Woodworking, we launched Fine Homebuilding, Threads, Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking, Home Furniture, Kitchen Garden, Inspired House, and Green Building Advisor. We published books by the best teachers and thought-leaders in our fields. We produced a TV show, and more recently have launched membership websites and online learning courses in all our fields. And there are plenty more ideas in the pipeline.
But new resources and the next generation of talent are needed for Taunton to keep moving forward. That’s why we have chosen to sell The Taunton Press to Active Interest Media, a company with similar core values and dedication to hands-on living. The expertise of the staff going to AIM combined with AIM’s leadership, scale and resources promises a strong future for what Taunton has created.
I’d like to publicly thank CEO Renee Jordan. Her leadership and commitment to Taunton as CEO for the past three and a half years has made this future for Taunton possible. In addition, I’d like to acknowledge the employees who will not be moving forward to new positions at AIM. We are grateful for your tenure and contributions.
Fifty years ago we couldn’t anticipate the impact The Taunton Press would have on people’s lives. On behalf of the entire Roman Family, I offer our profound thanks to all the employees, contributors, vendors, and customers who have been on this journey with us.
Board Chair, The Taunton Press
November 30, 2023¬
Established in 1975, The Taunton Press provides high-quality, high-value information to special-interest enthusiasts – those who have made a commitment in time and space to learning about and practicing their craft and expressing their creative imaginations.
We concentrate on interest areas where there is a substantial body of high-quality information to be communicated, and where the enthusiast finds satisfaction both in the process and with the end result. We have five fields of focus: woodworking, home building and renovation, building science, gardening, and sewing.
We’re known for our iconic magazines Fine Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Fine Gardening, and Threads and our related line of enduring reference, technique, and design books. Our value-driven culture and unwavering focus on quality has evolved the company to a dynamic and growing digital media business that continues to inspire, teach, and connect 10 million passionate makers across web, social, print, video, audio, and experiential platforms.
We empower creative people to lead more fulfilling, connected and purposeful lives by getting better at the passions they pursue.
We strive to advance the knowledge and appreciation of hands-on pursuits in gardening, home building and remodeling, sewing, and woodworking. Our products aim to inspire passionate and loyal audiences by showcasing the individual creativity, skill, and talent of leading makers and experts in the field to inspire passionate and loyal audiences. We develop premium, high-quality content and product experiences that deepen the relationship with our customers, create engagement across multiple media formats, and offer marketers unique ways to engage with enthusiasts and professionals in our categories.
Culture and Values
The Taunton Press is a family-owned business built on the core values of Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence, Independent Thinking, Inclusivity, and Creativity. Our culture thrives on collaboration and adaptability; our business prospers on engaging customers with premium, highly valued content experiences.
Our teams are passionate about delivering products that exceed customer expectations. We employ knowledgeable and highly skilled editorial, creative, development and marketing teams who are versed in a variety of media formats and produce and deliver content experiences at a superior standard of excellence. Our products are a unique and compelling blend of staff-created and curated contributions from leading experts in our fields. Our business endures given our adaptability and flexibility. Our teams effectively juggle multiple demands and respond to new situations with fresh ideas and innovative approaches—always with the goal to teach, inspire and connect our passionate and loyal customers. Our dynamic work culture is challenging, rewarding, and fun.
The Taunton Press was founded in 1975 in Newtown, Connecticut, by Jan and Paul Roman with the launch of Fine Woodworking magazine. Paul was an avid woodworker who saw a lack of available quality information about the craft. That first issue set the foundation for Taunton’s high level of quality content that contains expert authority, variety, unique features, and reliable information. Fine Woodworking remains a thought leader in the craft, empowering woodworkers to advance their skills via the magazine, a vibrant website, videos, engaging podcasts, online education, and live events.
“The only trouble with designing and working in wood is that it is so beautiful in itself. A block of wood, planed, sanded and oiled, is already admirable. So the more you do to it, the worse it is going to get. Working with a material of such natural beauty, we have to design very quietly and use a simple form.”
—Tage Frid, Fine Woodworking, Issue #1
In 1978, Taunton expanded its product line with the publication of its first book, Make a Chair from a Tree: An Introduction to Working Green Wood, by John (later Jennie) Alexander (1930-2018). The expansion into book publishing was a natural progression of the company’s mission to provide high-quality, in-depth resources about the craft. Since then, The Taunton Press imprint has published more than 1,600 influential titles in the subjects of woodworking, home construction and design, gardening, cooking, quilting, and sewing that have sold over 30 million copies.
Product expansion continued with the launch of Fine Homebuilding magazine in 1981, a publication dedicated to providing a practical, hands-on approach to information about quality home construction and remodeling for professionals and advanced DIYers. Today, Fine Homebuilding is a dynamic franchise driven by the ethos of craftsmanship and building-science knowledge. With its digital platforms, weekly podcasts, educational events, and innovative partnerships with builders and suppliers, Fine Homebuilding has become a beacon to a community of exceptionally skilled practitioners, deeply knowledgeable enthusiasts, industry influencers, and forward-thinking companies who are collectively shaping the way we build.
“Just as a void existed for the serious woodworker when we started Fine Woodworking magazine five years ago, so does a void exist for the serious home builder and renovator today. There is no magazine that covers the whole broad and vital field of home building with quality, style and depth. So, we at The Taunton Press are starting a magazine this fall that will do just that, and we’re calling it Fine Homebuilding, because that’s what it will be about. “
—Paul Roman, from Fine Woodworking issue #20
In the 1990s, the Taunton Press book business continued to grow, with hundreds of titles delving deep into building knowledge, skills and technique, and how-to—and these influential books became the inspiration for dozens of in-depth how-to videos.
One formidable contributor to the Taunton Press imprint is legendary carpenter Larry Haun (1931-2011). A former contributing editor to Fine Homebuilding, he wrote The Very Efficient Carpenter (1992) and included three companion videos on how to frame a house. That was an early example of how the company adapted the product-development approach to integrate content and instruction across multiple platforms. As post-war and subsequent building booms brought rapid changes in tools, materials, and building methods, Haun saw the need to document production-framing techniques to pass along to future generations. Still, over 20 years later, The Very Efficient Carpenter is a perennial bestseller.
“His gruff nature belied the tenderness with which he treated the wood he loved. It was inspiring to watch him work, as if all his life force was concentrated in his hands.”
—Larry Haun, describing his father in his blog “A Carpenter’s View”.
In the late 1990s, The Taunton Press continued to branch out, publishing several groundbreaking residential architecture books tailored to the broad consumer market, bringing more awareness of the value of custom design to millions of readers, with the overriding message that good design matters when it comes to quality of life. One of those titles, The Not So Big House, published in 1998, gave an early voice to the tiny house movement. The author, noted architect Sarah Susanka, focused on building houses that were better and not necessarily bigger in size. Her forward-thinking contribution to the literature on homes and architecture inspired homeowners to look for more quality instead of square footage.
Books and videos were not the only new products The Taunton Press was creating at the time. After the success of both Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding, the company continued to expand into new markets, focusing on sewing, gardening, and cooking.
Threads magazine, launched in 1985, and now its accompanying website, is the premier information and archival resource for garment-sewing techniques and fitting expertise. In 1993, The Taunton Press published Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer, the first title in what has become an acclaimed series focused on Couture Sewing. Authors and well-known sewers Kenneth D. King, Louise Cutting, and Susan Khalje continue to provide their professional experiences and advice to Threads’s growing digital audience.
Threads was a leader in digital learning, launching an influential how-to DVD video series called “Teach Yourself to Sew.” The series, starring Judith Neukam, former executive editor and now a contributing editor at Threads, helped spur other educational DVD products across the Taunton brands.
Fine Gardening launched in 1988, continuing the Taunton tradition of bringing experts together to inspire and inform an audience of enthusiasts. Like other brands at Taunton, Fine Gardening has moved beyond the magazine. One book, titled Common-Sense Pest Control, by William Olkowski, has become the ultimate reference source for gardeners and homeowners looking for nontoxic solutions to their insect and pest problems. Fine Gardening continues to bring expert how-to and advice to passionate gardeners across multiple platforms.
For the culinary inclined, Fine Cooking was launched in 1995, and later expanded to include an Emmy award–winning television program, “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.” In 2020, the Fine Cooking brand was sold to Meredith.
Innovation Drives Our Success
Our teams are passionate about delivering products that exceed customer expectations. We employ knowledgeable and highly skilled editorial, creative, development, and marketing teams who are versed in variety of media formats and produce and deliver content experiences at a superior standard of excellence. Our business endures because our teams effectively adapt to new situations with fresh ideas and innovative approaches.
The Taunton Press was an early adopter of the premium, paid content model on the internet, with the launch of finewoodworking.com. Now all our brands have websites with successful subscriber paywalls that give premium access to our growing library of high-quality information.
We continue to serve our loyal audiences with multiple options for experiencing their favorite content. Our websites inform and delight with new content and streaming videos posted daily. Our digital archive apps hold a deep library of informative, inspirational content. We tell stories through our blogs and custom e-letters, enable conversations on our digital discussion forums, and offer diverse opinions on craft through our engaging podcasts. Our live events give audiences face-to-face access to our experts and teams, and our growing lineup of digital education—webinars, online classes, and virtual events—allow our customers to engage with us at home. Our social media channels showcase our experts and inspire conversations, and our marketing teams continue to develop digital strategies that help our advertising partners connect with our audiences in creative, effective ways.