On a Road Less Traveled
A few blocks from Philadelphia's famous Colonial-era buildings—buildings in which the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and drafted the U.S. Constitution—is an old restored brownstone. Away from the throngs of roving tourists, this quaint, historic building houses a contemporary publishing company that turns out some of the most creative and innovative book projects on the market today.
Running Press, an independent trade publishing house, specializes in highly designed adult non-fiction books, children's titles and most especially book-plus projects. Bestsellers have included Sisters, a compilation of pictures and compelling stories about the special bond of female siblings, and I Feel Great, And You Will, Too! by Pat Croce, the famously energetic and inspirational president of the Philadel-phia '76ers basketball team.
Established in 1972 by Buz Teacher and his brother Law-rence (the latter is now retired), Running Press started out with just two niches: how-to books for home improvement and gardening. The first real innovation, however, came in 1976 when the brothers produced a book with a seed company partner, in which seed packets were incorporated onto the cover art.
"It was a fun project and it attracted a different kind of attention than traditional books," remembers Teacher. And the rest, as the adage goes, is
history. Today, 85 employees produce and sell 175 new titles and book-plus projects a year. The company's backlist is 600 titles strong; 60 percent of annual sales come from the backlist lineup, says Teacher. Running Press uses numerous manufacturers and vendors, including R.R. Donnelley & Sons and Buchanan in the U.S., and L. Rex, JY International and Hong Kong Graphics abroad. "We have long-term relationships with some vendors," says Peter Horodowich, production director, "but it's also important for us to continue to meet new suppliers to see their unique capabilities and techniques."