Hooked on Phonics was created in 1987 as an instructional program to assist school-age children who were struggling with reading skills. Sold primarily through infomercials, the name grew increasingly recognizable as more and more television viewers stumbled upon the advertisements and their memorable “Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” tagline. Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the company introduced a handful of additional products, including “Hooked on Math,” but still remained true to its original direct-to-consumer sales model. In 2005, Hooked on Phonics, now known as HOP LLC, was acquired by Baltimore-based Educate Inc. (which also owns Sylvan Learning Center) and was
Martin Rowe labels his view of the book business “cynically optimistic.” The director of publishing for Lantern Books, a relatively small, independent publisher of spiritual, social, environmental and animal advocacy titles, Rowe draws upon a diverse career that has led to his well-rounded view of the business of book publishing. And this view, he says, is changing as rapidly as the industry itself. Prior to co-founding New York-based Lantern Books with the company’s CEO and president, Gene Gollogly, Rowe held positions in distribution, research and promotions, as an author, and in a handful of other roles that even included a job in a bookstore.
When it comes to improving the supply chain function in book publishing, the watchword is communication—between various components of the chain, and especially between manufacturing, distribution and retail. Saying this, however, is not saying nearly enough, as the quality of information and the way it’s used matter just as much as making the right connections. “Communication is the No. 1 supply chain issue,” says Rich Eby, director of inbound distribution at Thomson Learning, the Stamford, Conn.-based provider of educational, training and reference books for academic and corporate customers. For Thomson, that means anticipating shipments from manufacturers around the world for distribution in the
If distribution means getting books into the hands of sellers, circulators or readers, then a true profile of the distribution business would cast a wide net, beginning at the binding line and continuing through to the ‘long tail’ of online portals, used bookstores and curbside pushcarts. However, if distribution, from the publisher’s view, means getting books to generate sales revenue, we can overlook all of the aftermarket, recirculation and reselling channels and focus solely on reaching stores, libraries, online and catalog warehouses and—increasingly, thanks to the Internet—direct marketing from the publisher to the consumer. In the article “Deconstructing Distribution,” in Book Business’
As CEO and president of iUniverse, Susan Driscoll has helped the pay-to-be-published online publisher to become an attractive alternative to the sort of traditional publishing houses at which she once held executive-level positions, including HarperCollins, Henry Holt and Holtzbrinck Publishers. An affordable avenue for aspiring authors seeking to get published, iUniverse has become one of the largest self-publishing companies since its launch in 1999. Driscoll, who co-penned the book “Get Published” last year, not only is the top executive at the company, but also a mentor to iUniverse’s roster of authors. Where do you see book publishing heading in the next five to 10 years?
Green is the new black … or is it the new pink? Either way, green is in. With more and more of corporate America joining the green movement, environmental sustainability continues to gain momentum in society. But the decision to do one’s part to help the environment starts with the individual, which is exactly who one publisher is betting on with its launch of “The Green Book” this month. “The Green Book,” penned by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, is a collection of more than 400 tips people can incorporate into their everyday lives to make a positive impact on the environment. Most
If 2007 goes down as “The Year of RR Donnelley,” it will do so as a result of a 65-day span at the turn of the year during which the conglomerate announced it would acquire three industry stalwarts: Perry Judd’s, Von Hoffman and Banta Corp. But the past year has been about more than consolidation and leveraged buyouts. North American printers continue to grapple with the mounting menace that is offshore manufacturing, fluctuating paper prices amid a series of mill shutdowns, and the ever-evolving technological demands of their customers. And yet, despite these challenges, there are also a number of opportunities facing the market.
The recent collapse of San Diego-based wholesaler Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), and its distribution subsidiary that it took down with it—the much esteemed Publishers Group West (PGW) that it acquired only five years ago—reminded me of the remarkable way in which our industry sorts through 180,000 new titles a year and the millions more in print. Somehow, in a timely manner, the industry moves books into stores, superstores, specialty stores and gift shops, big-box discounters, grocery and drug store chains, and libraries of all kinds—aggregating more than 100,000 accounts that someone has to bill and collect on. Dramatic though the PGW collapse is, drilling
You only have so many titles to market to the public. How do you choose the right ones and how do you further their cause? It’s never an easy decision. One title you might acquire reads beautifully, but where’s the platform for marketing it? The author doesn’t exactly seem television-interview friendly. Another title has a famous person behind it, but it’s missing a little thing called substance. These are the dilemmas publishers face every day, and although choosing a title is certainly not easy, several publishers with a number of best sellers under their belts say that there are certain steps you can
Freeload Press, a Minnesota-based publisher and distributor, made headlines last year upon publishing college textbooks featuring advertising for everything from study guides to credit card companies. The company offers these books to students at significantly reduced prices in print or PDF format, and many for free download on its Web site. The goal is to offset the constantly increasing price of required course-reading materials for college students. Freeload now has almost 250 student versions available for download. An academic panel helps with ad placement in the PDF e-textbooks, and the “StudyBreak Ads” are placed in natural breaks in the printed books. Freeload Press Founder