How to Be a Bigger, Better Book Publisher
What does it take to achieve marked growth in the book business? The answer is as varied as the publishing companies in the market today. But a few core factors, such as acquisitions, international licensing and monetary support, can represent elements vital to extensive growth. Tapping into a bit of creativity and adapting to specific market needs also help. Dan Oswald, president and publisher of M. Lee Smith Publishers, LLC, and Rich Wohl, vice president of publishing for Wolters Kluwer Health and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, have seen this firsthand. Here, they talk about the keys to their companies’ significant expansions and offer tips that can help fertilize your company’s growth efforts:
… on building recurring revenue streams
M. Lee Smith Publishers, LLC, Brentwood, Tenn., was founded 31 years ago as a newsletter publisher. Today it is a $22.5 million company that publishes books, newsletters and specialized information, in addition to gaining revenue through conferences and seminars. M. Lee Smith specializes in employment law and the legal field. One of its most recent book titles is “50 Employment Laws in 50 States.”
Was there a specific branch of publishing on which M. Lee Smith focused in an effort to grow in terms of revenue, distribution and number of authors published?
Dan Oswald: Our biggest growth came from selling state-specific employment law newsletters that we prepare with law firms in those states. A lot of our growth came by initially launching those state by state. Then we tried to gain business by working through human resource professionals specializing in law and looked to broaden our offerings to those customers through books, seminars, conferences and loose-leaf products—anything that would deliver information to those customers on specific state and federal laws.
Is there an overall strategy your company used that was successful in your company’s growth?
Oswald: I think the No. 1 thing we do is look for recurring revenue streams. Newsletters by nature are that. They are a renewal product.