Angling for a Bigger Piece of the Pie
By far, one of the most interesting business initiatives of this company is its extensive list of
co-branded books. Partners include such well-known companies and brand names as L.L. Bean, Orvis, Field & Stream, The Nature Conservancy, Golf magazine, Walking magazine, and others.
"Each partnership arrangement is different," Lyons offers. "Some are straight licensing agreements, while other partners provide the content to us and collect royalties on sales."
The challenge, he notes, is to find a company with wide-spread name recognition and officials who want to use their brand in a specialized publishing format. "Our pitch is that we're essentially a backlist company," says Lyons. "We often keep books in print for 10 to 15 years. So the partner will get many years of publicity out of our books."
Partners often buy large quantities of the books for resale through their own channels, such as catalogs or Web sites. "It's often much simpler for these companies to deal with a small publisher like us," says Lyons. "We don't have layers of bureaucracy like most larger publishing houses."
While the sideline is lucrative for the publisher, generating 10 to 15 percent of annual revenues, the titles aren't necessarily easier to produce than regular books, Lyons continues. For example, a recent release, The Orvis Fly-Tying Guide, by Tom Rosenbauer, includes 450 pages, 1,000 pieces of artwork and a design theme that was extremely difficult to
implement consistently. "Each step in the fly-tying explanations includes artwork and text whose length varies from picture to picture. It took us nine months to produce this book; it certainly wasn't easy," recounts Lyons.
Lithe and nimble
"Challenging" is also an apt description for another Lyons Press title, 101 Survival Secrets, by Richard Hatch, star of the popular TV show "Survivor." Because the book was expected to have a short shelf life (another "Survivor" winner is slated to be named this year), a short production time and consequently a longer sales tenure were critical to the title's success, says Steve Bedney, production director. Their goal: Put this book on store shelves in two weeks.