Via PR from Hachette: Yen Press, the manga imprint led by Kurt Hassler and Rich Johnson, will be folded into a new publishing division, Orbit, which will include Yen and the existing SF line, Orbit. In addition, Yen co-founder Rich Johnson will be leaving the division at the end of the month.

Hachette Book Group is to create a new publishing division, comprising two new imprints it launched last year: Orbit, its Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint; and Yen Press, its Manga and Graphic Novel imprint. The new division will take the Orbit name, and will strategically strengthen HBG’s presence in these increasingly vital segments of the book buying market.

Tim Holman, who relocated from London to New York in 2006 to help set up Orbit, has been appointed VP and Publisher of the new division, reporting to CEO and Chairman David Young. Reporting to Tim Holman will be Kurt Hassler, Publishing Director of Yen Press. Kurt will be assuming responsibilities previously shared with co-Publishing Director Rich Johnson, who will be leaving the company at the end of October. Alex Lencicki has been appointed Marketing and Publicity Director for the new division.

David Young commented: “This new publishing division gives us the perfect platform for building our business in two genres that have significant potential for future growth. Tim has grown Orbit to be the market-leading imprint in the UK, and his publishing experience is perfectly suited to the opportunities presented by both Orbit and Yen Press in the US market. We are of course sorry that Rich Johnson will be leaving the company, however as the Yen business has evolved it has become clear that a single Publishing Director for the imprint is most appropriate. The establishment of this new division reflects not only our belief that it makes publishing sense for Orbit and Yen Press to be more closely connected within the company, but also our commitment to the genres in which they publish.”

Tim Holman commented: “Orbit and Yen Press will continue to develop independently. However, as a single division, we’ll be able to combine our efforts in a number of key areas to great effect. Both Orbit and Yen Press are publishing in genres that can no longer be considered marginal. It is almost impossible to imagine popular culture today without them. Our challenge is to embrace this change, to be creative and forward-thinking, and to engage with the new audiences that we know are out there. I believe that we have the right publishing vision and the right publishing team, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with Kurt, Alex, and colleagues throughout the company to make the new Orbit division a great success.”