AAS Buys Willmann-Bell

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has announced the acquisition of the remarkable inventory of books, star atlases, and software produced and sold by Willmann-Bell, Inc., founded in 1973 by Perry and Patricia Remaklus of Richmond, Virginia.

Willmann-Bell has for decades been among the most respected publishers of books for astronomers, including amateurs interested in building their own telescopes, exploring the history of astronomical observing, improving their skills, and contributing to scientific research.

The addition of Willmann-Bell’s product line comes just two years after the acquisition of Sky & Telescope (S&T). The AAS is now a premier publisher not only of research journals and ebooks but also of a monthly magazine and a wide assortment of star atlases, observing handbooks, celestial globes, and other products serving the astronomical community, including scientists, hobbyists, students, and other enthusiasts.

AAS Buys Willmann-BellThe AAS plans make Willmann-Bell titles available for purchase through Sky & Telescope’s online store, ShopAtSky.com, by the end of October. Between now and then, Willmann-Bell’s substantial inventory — nearly 2,000 cartons with a combined weight exceeding 22 tons — will be relocated to a new ecommerce fulfillment contractor. ShopAtSky.com’s current inventory, which includes tons more books, atlases, and back issues of Sky & Telescope, will be moved there as well, and the store’s website will be updated. These changes will greatly improve the Society’s ability to provide quality products and timely service to customers worldwide.

Most of Willmann-Bell’s existing books will remain available indefinitely, including such high-demand titles as the Uranometria 2000.0 star atlas and the multivolume Night Sky Observer’s Guide. The AAS also plans to publish new volumes in the popular Annals of the Night Sky series; Vol. 8 is already printed and bound and will be available for immediate shipment once we begin accepting new orders. And the AAS intends to commission new titles to appear under the AAS/S&T/Willmann-Bell imprint.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be able to continue the legacy of Willmann-Bell through this acquisition,” said Dr. Kevin B. Marvel, AAS Executive Officer. “I began my career by reading Sky & Telescope magazine and Willmann-Bell books. If not for both of these well-known brands, I would never have become an amateur astronomer and then a professional, nor would I have enjoyed astronomy so much.”

Perry and Patricia Remaklus have spent a lifetime supporting astronomy and the exploration and enjoyment of the night sky through their innovative publishing efforts. With those efforts set to continue via the AAS and S&T, the Board of Trustees has named the couple Patrons of the Society, a special honor reserved for those who significantly assist the AAS in pursuit of its mission to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe.

“Willmann-Bell was never about Perry and Patricia Remaklus,” says Perry Remaklus. “It was always about our authors, our readers, and the subject matter. That’s why we didn’t name the company for ourselves; we used my middle name and Patricia’s maiden name.

“Both of us are delighted that the American Astronomical Society and Sky & Telescope will pick up where we left off to ensure that astronomers at all levels have access to books and other publications that will help them improve their skills, appreciate the accomplishments of those who came before us, and enjoy this spectacular universe of ours.”

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