A modern touch
After Cirker's death in March of 2000, the company was purchased by Courier (www.courier.com) later that year. Prior to the sale, Courier had a long-standing relationship with the publisher, having been its printer for more than 30 years.
The change in ownership brought about several upgrades. "We were somewhat behind the times in terms of equipment and technology. Now, we have a great Web site; our entire list is on it," explains Strowbridge. "And we are in the process of building a business-to-business site for trade customers that will be ready by the end of April. [Also], we're watching the e-book market. We think it will go through a few more shakedowns, so we're waiting to jump in."
From a production standpoint, "efficiency has increased since Dover and Courier have undertaken a joint effort to create an automated estimating system," says Roland. "The system soon will also automate purchase orders, which will help tremendously because Dover has hundreds of different sizes and weights of paper they use and different bindings."
Another boon to efficiency was the move to computer-to-plate (CTP) that began four years ago. Dover operates on a digital workflow, supplying the printer with either Quark or PDF files. "We have some pretty sophisticated scanning equipment. If we're reprinting a scientific book, we'll scan it and do all of the PDF'ing and submit the file to Courier," notes Strowbridge.
The digital workflow is a nice complement to the publisher's need for short runs. Strowbridge surmises that the average run length is 2,000 copies. "But, we can go down to 1,000. And quite a few books have runs of 8,000, 10,000 or 20,000."
Dover is cautious in its print runs because of its no return policy. Strowbridge acknowledges, "Our books don't have that big initial sale—they sell steadily through a long period of time—so, we encourage stores to buy just what they need. If that's one or two books, we'll ship just one or two. We've been able to reflect this in our prices because we don't have to contemplate returns."