The Corner Office: Battling the 'Potter' Goliath
● Did the lawsuit and the publicity help or hurt your company?
Rapoport: Well, advance orders of [“The Lexicon” were] strong, and we have had calls from major accounts. I would say it has benefited the company.
We have more than 30,000 orders for “The Lexicon.” … From the first day we announced this, we have been getting calls about [it]. … 30,000 orders [is] a lot for a publisher of our size … and especially in this economic climate. Orders are usually low unless you are publishing a John Grisham [novel].
● “Harry Potter” issues aside, what are the biggest challenges your company faces as an independent publisher?
Rapoport: Meeting demand, like all publishers. … You can never afford to be out of a book. We do a lot of forecasting.
And then there are the new books—launching them properly. Those book tours are very labor-intensive and very expensive, but they are the best way to promote a new title. It’s much easier to get coverage [in a particular area] if the author is in town. We try to do a lot of high-profile events. Conferences and tours are critical to us.
The biggest challenge is finding really good manuscripts. …
● How are you being affected by the current economic crisis?
Rapoport: It hasn’t affected us yet. … There are still lots and lots of orders, even discounting the “Harry Potter” book. The backlists have gotten very strong, and I credit the Internet with that. We’re not cutting back in any area.
Melissa Busch is an associate senior editor at North American Publishing Co.