The latest step in what the company calls an aggressive investment in e-media in 2008, consumer enthusiast publisher F+W Publications has appointed former Penton e-media group publisher Chad Phelps to the newly-created position of vice president of digital media for the company’s book division.

In his new role, Phelps will work alongside e-media executive vice president John Lerner to grow F+W’s book presence online, with what the company calls a “keen focus on content and community.”

So far this year, F+W has re-launched 12 magazine Web sites and is in the process of developing 10 more. “Our entire company, from new products to content development, must become completely Web-enabled and Web-centric,” F+W CEO David Nussbaum tells FOLIO:. “Our customers are simply interested in a new variety of delivery channels and we need to offer our content through these channels in a seamless, smart and east-to-access way.”

Nussbaum, the former Penton Media CEO, was tapped by private equity group ABRY Partners as F+W chairman and CEO in late January. Two months earlier, the company named former Penton group senior vice president David Blansfield as president of its magazine and ancillary division. One of his first moves was to shut down five magazines and lay off 13 staffers. At the time, Blansfield emphasized F+W’s stance as a “diversified media company.”

In that spirit, F+W is looking to expand its e-media-related staff this year by at least 20 additional positions, Nussbaum says. Although he declined to say exactly how much F+W is spending on its e-media push, Nussbaum called it a “significant monetary investment.”

“[E-media] is one, if not the most important, initiative for the future of the company,” he says. “Perhaps more importantly than this financial commitment, we are investing time, resources and energy toward creating a larger, lasting cultural shift at F+W across all of our properties. We are challenging every employee to rethink how we do what we do.”