As each title is stored digitally, the company is able to respond quickly to spikes in demand for particular books. After the World Trade Center attacks, countless discussions were circulating on the Internet about Nostradamus and his having predicted the events of September 11, leading to an unexpected bestseller for Dover. "We have a complete edition of Nostradamus' predictions. It's a pretty expensive book for us, selling for around $25. We sold about 20,000 copies. We did several reprints in a short period of time. Luckily, the book was originally printed by Courier."
A perennial favorite for the company is their Thrift Edition series. The series includes more than 300 reprints of classic literature, poetry and non-fiction, starting in price at $1. All of the editions are unabridged and among the most inexpensive on the market, making them popular with teachers and students.
Taking things book by book
More than 56 years after Cirker founded Dover Publications, the company continues to marry the concepts of quality, variety and low cost. When asked how he ensures quality, Roland responds, "We buy very high-quality paper [primarily from Milton and Glatfelter].We have excellent pressmen. We simply produce the best quality books we know how to produce. Every book is evaluated by myself or someone else. Clarence [Strowbridge] and I are constantly talking about whether a book should be printed on coated or uncoated stock. Everything is judged on a book by book basis."
For Strowbridge, he believes that Dover Publication's ultimate strength is the myriad subjects the title list spans: "There's nobody that I know of that is like Dover. We publish in so many areas—architecture, classical music scores, children's books, paper dolls, chess, antiques, social sciences, philosophy, psychology, etc. No one else has the scope of our program. We are unique."