From Garage Publisher to Google Prominence
In 1979, Evans incorporated Evan-Moor and launched the company with six titles—the first being “Art Moves the Basics Along: Animal Units.”
Meanwhile, Bill pursued a law degree, passed the bar exam and continued practicing law for six more years while Evan-Moor got off the ground.
Learning to Grow
The first six books Evan-Moor published were the same six books Joy and Jo Ellen were slated to publish via Frank Schaffer. After that, Evan-Moor began producing 32-page books for the average price of $4.95 or $5.95, says Evans. “Over time, we found that those price points did not work so we decided to place more value in our books and market them at a higher cost,” he says. “That’s when we realized it cost the same to sell a $4.95 book as it does to sell a $15 one.”
This was Evan-Moor’s first step toward growth, which turned into a valuable learning experience. “We had to keep asking the question, ‘Is this the best way?’ and then move forward.”
The decision on price was a good move for Evan-Moor. By the mid ’80s, Bill Evans shuttered his law practice, and Joy and Jo Ellen retired from teaching.
Still, adapting to change proved to be the biggest challenge. “The way you continue to grow is by coming out with new innovative educational products,” says Evans. “The challenge that happens is that as you’re growing from $1 million to $5 million, $10 [million] and beyond, the answers to running your business are constantly changing. I’ve realized that, in business growth, the question is eternal, but the answers are always changing.”
He discovered that what first worked in warehouse operations didn’t work a few years later for the expanding Evan-Moor. “We needed to figure out what we wanted to publish,” he says.