Andrews McMeel's Strategy: Building 'Bench Depth'
Calendars are one of the largest segments, comprising 50 percent of AMP's overall business. While 15 percent of the calendars it publishes are affiliated with the company's book titles (such as the "Dilbert Desk Calendar," "Thomas Kinkade: Painter of Light" and its forthcoming "Cake Wrecks" calendar, based on its New York Times best-selling "Cake Wrecks" title), the vast majority are not (including: "Wild Words From Wild Women," "The Metropolitan Opera," "Harry Potter" and "The Office," among others.
"Our calendar offerings are very ?diverse in subject and format, and we have a number of license-driven calendars unrelated to our books, which gives us considerable bench depth," says Andrews. (While the company does not place a priority on publishing new titles that lend themselves well to ancillary product sales, "With a terrific product such as The New York Times best-selling 'Cake Wrecks,' we definitely consider opportunities," Andrews explains.)
This bench depth seems to apply to the company's line of gift books as well—its catalog ranges from Robert Pattinson and Taylor Swift gift books, and those on the president and the first lady, to "The Fun Book for Christmas."
One of its best-selling gift book product lines—its "Blue Day" series, by Bradley Trevor Greive—has sold more than 20 million copies internationally.
The company's "Posh Puzzle" series drives additional revenue—with titles such as "Pocket Posh Sudoku," "Posh Logic" and "Posh Word Search"—complemented by puzzle books, such as the "Food & Wine Lover's Puzzle and Quiz Book" and "USA Today Everyday Logic" book of 200 puzzles.
Cooking Up New Opportunities: Grab a Partner
Despite Andrews McMeel's diverse product offering, it also manages to focus on building bench depth in its core areas, which include cookbooks and children's books.
AMP's line of cookbooks, one of its strongest market segments, has been developed extensively under Melville, who joined the company in 2005 after leaving Ten Speed Press. Among its cooking titles are John Besh's "My New Orleans" (which has "sold out of its 50,000-copy first printing," says Melville), Tessa Kiros' "Falling Cloudberries" and storytelling cookbooks such as "My Nepenthe."