Hooked on Phonics was created in 1987 as an instructional program to assist school-age children who were struggling with reading skills. Sold primarily through infomercials, the name grew increasingly recognizable as more and more television viewers stumbled upon the advertisements and their memorable “Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” tagline. Throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, the company introduced a handful of additional products, including “Hooked on Math,” but still remained true to its original direct-to-consumer sales model. In 2005, Hooked on Phonics, now known as HOP LLC, was acquired by Baltimore-based Educate Inc. (which also owns Sylvan Learning Center) and was
Martin Rowe labels his view of the book business “cynically optimistic.” The director of publishing for Lantern Books, a relatively small, independent publisher of spiritual, social, environmental and animal advocacy titles, Rowe draws upon a diverse career that has led to his well-rounded view of the business of book publishing. And this view, he says, is changing as rapidly as the industry itself. Prior to co-founding New York-based Lantern Books with the company’s CEO and president, Gene Gollogly, Rowe held positions in distribution, research and promotions, as an author, and in a handful of other roles that even included a job in a bookstore.
“We are leading the pack by building a digital warehouse, which is the digital equivalent of our print warehouse,” commented Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers, in the May issue of Book Business. This is the ultimate sign-off on the industry’s embrace of the future, and its take-back of content control from trailblazers such as Google, Amazon and Yahoo. For some years now, various technology vendors have enabled publishers to deliver electronically formatted versions of their titles for special purposes. These have included applications such as conversions to XML formats (e.g., Publishing Dimensions), proprietary e-book reader formats (Mobipocket), sight-impaired applications (National
The June release of British writer Ian McEwan’s “On Chesil Beach” was accompanied by screenings of a 28-minute film profiling the author at dozens of bookstores in the United States. According to producer Powell’s Books, the film aimed to go beyond the traditional author reading to inspire “spirited discussion about great new books and their impact on readers’ lives.” This was, perhaps, an innovative and effective tool for promoting McEwan. But if proponents of the emerging tool of webcasting are proven right, the logistical challenges accompanying such an operation (and those inherent in luring a finite set of audience members to bookstores to watch
Green is the new black … or is it the new pink? Either way, green is in. With more and more of corporate America joining the green movement, environmental sustainability continues to gain momentum in society. But the decision to do one’s part to help the environment starts with the individual, which is exactly who one publisher is betting on with its launch of “The Green Book” this month. “The Green Book,” penned by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, is a collection of more than 400 tips people can incorporate into their everyday lives to make a positive impact on the environment. Most
If 2007 goes down as “The Year of RR Donnelley,” it will do so as a result of a 65-day span at the turn of the year during which the conglomerate announced it would acquire three industry stalwarts: Perry Judd’s, Von Hoffman and Banta Corp. But the past year has been about more than consolidation and leveraged buyouts. North American printers continue to grapple with the mounting menace that is offshore manufacturing, fluctuating paper prices amid a series of mill shutdowns, and the ever-evolving technological demands of their customers. And yet, despite these challenges, there are also a number of opportunities facing the market.
When it comes to improving the supply chain function in book publishing, the watchword is communication—between various components of the chain, and especially between manufacturing, distribution and retail. Saying this, however, is not saying nearly enough, as the quality of information and the way it’s used matter just as much as making the right connections. “Communication is the No. 1 supply chain issue,” says Rich Eby, director of inbound distribution at Thomson Learning, the Stamford, Conn.-based provider of educational, training and reference books for academic and corporate customers. For Thomson, that means anticipating shipments from manufacturers around the world for distribution in the
If distribution means getting books into the hands of sellers, circulators or readers, then a true profile of the distribution business would cast a wide net, beginning at the binding line and continuing through to the ‘long tail’ of online portals, used bookstores and curbside pushcarts. However, if distribution, from the publisher’s view, means getting books to generate sales revenue, we can overlook all of the aftermarket, recirculation and reselling channels and focus solely on reaching stores, libraries, online and catalog warehouses and—increasingly, thanks to the Internet—direct marketing from the publisher to the consumer. In the article “Deconstructing Distribution,” in Book Business’
As CEO and president of iUniverse, Susan Driscoll has helped the pay-to-be-published online publisher to become an attractive alternative to the sort of traditional publishing houses at which she once held executive-level positions, including HarperCollins, Henry Holt and Holtzbrinck Publishers. An affordable avenue for aspiring authors seeking to get published, iUniverse has become one of the largest self-publishing companies since its launch in 1999. Driscoll, who co-penned the book “Get Published” last year, not only is the top executive at the company, but also a mentor to iUniverse’s roster of authors. Where do you see book publishing heading in the next five to 10 years?
The large New York publishing firms might have been forgiven, in early 2000, for taking little or no notice of a slim volume of Bible commentary put out by Multnomah Publishers, a small religious publishing house based in Colorado Springs. The book, which analyzed an obscure Old Testament passage as a sort of self-help guide to releasing “God’s favor, power and protection” through prayer, was bought up by large evangelical churches and began to be talked about online and in so-called “small group ministry” sessions around the country. One year and 4 million copies later, everyone in the publishing world had heard of