Berkley Books was founded in 1955 by a group of independent investors. The company performed quietly but profitably for ten years, and in 1965 was bought by G. P. Putnam's Sons, which in turn was bought by MCA ten years later.
1979 was a year of major growth for Berkley, when Victor Temkin left Bantam Books to be the company's new president. He hired Rena Wolner, then Associate Publisher of Bantam, to be Publisher, and David Shanks, then wholesale national distributor for Bantam, to be sales director for the combined Berkley/Jove list. That same year, Bill Gross was hired to be Publisher of Jove Books, which Putnam had bought from Harcourt Brace, and which at the time was run as a separate company. In 1982, Putnam bought Grosset & Dunlap and Playboy Press, and the Ace and Playboy paperback lists were added to Berkley. The Playboy list was eventually absorbed into Berkley, while the Jove and Ace lists have continued as distinct imprints.
Today, under the leadership of President and Publisher Leslie Gelbman, the company publishes more than seven hundred titles a year under the Berkley, Jove, and Ace imprints, in mass-market paperback, trade paperback, and hardcover formats. Its new Caliber line of military titles has quickly established a solid reputation with bestsellers such as Beyond Band of Brothers and Not a Good Day to Die. Berkley is proud to publish in paperback some of the country's most significant bestselling authors, including Tom Clancy, Robin Cook, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Robert B. Parker, John Sandford and Kate Jacobs. The imprint also publishes numerous bestselling authors in hardcover, including Laurell K. Hamilton and Christine Feehan.
President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief: Berkley Books
President of Mass Market Paperbacks
Leslie Gelbman was named President of Mass Market Paperbacks in 2001 and named President of Berkley Books in 1998. Before joining Berkley in 1989 as Editor in Chief, she was Editorial Director at Kensington Publishing, where she worked for eleven years. She was named Publisher of Berkley in 1996.