On a Road Less Traveled
According to Cabrera, a book production veteran who spent many years in New York publishing houses, "Running Press really fosters creativity. Everyone is open to new ideas here. What drew me from New York was this team and the atmosphere. It's very cohesive."
Jennifer Worick, editorial director, agrees. "Everyone is encouraged to be creative and submit ideas." Project editors, for example, do not only developmental and copy editing, but also acquisitions. "If an editor has a book idea, he or she can propose it, get it approved and sign up an author—in other words, make it happen from conception to completion. This offers editors an opportunity to grow in their jobs and expand their skill sets."
Worick gives an example from her own experience: A fan of Nancy Drew titles, she spent more than a year re-reading the book series, researching rights and
submitting ideas to the Running Press team. Her efforts paid off. This year, the publisher will release licensed miniature books and magnetic postcards filled with Nancy Drew wit and wisdom, advice from the fabled teenaged sleuth.
Other licensed projects include miniature editions of popular Disney titles such as The Lion King, Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast. A partnership with Wine Spectator magazine generated the recent release of Wine Spectator's Ultimate Guide to Buying Wine.
Such projects allow employees (from editors to customer service personnel to salespeople) to fuse some of their interests and ideas into their jobs, says Worick. Undoubtedly, this practice is what enables Running Press to attract some top talent from other publishing houses, she adds. "This is an environment that really fosters idea-generation."
From Pat Croce to French cuisine
In addition to the book-plus projects, Running Press also produces traditional trade books, and one particular specialty: books authored by nationally recognized Philadelphians. Georges Perrier, chef and owner of the renowned Philadel-phia bistro, Le Bec-Fin, which regularly garners top ratings from Condé Nast Traveler and the Zagats, finally released a cookbook filled with recipes for his French cuisine. In addition, restaurateur and social activist Judy Wicks, owner of Philadelphia's White Dog Café, which Condé Nast Traveler called "one of 50 American restaurants worth traveling to visit," also published a cookbook through Running Press. The books and sample recipes are available at www.runningpress.com.