Revenue

Deconstructing Distribution
May 1, 2007

The recent collapse of San Diego-based wholesaler Advanced Marketing Services (AMS), and its distribution subsidiary that it took down with it—the much esteemed Publishers Group West (PGW) that it acquired only five years ago—reminded me of the remarkable way in which our industry sorts through 180,000 new titles a year and the millions more in print. Somehow, in a timely manner, the industry moves books into stores, superstores, specialty stores and gift shops, big-box discounters, grocery and drug store chains, and libraries of all kinds—aggregating more than 100,000 accounts that someone has to bill and collect on. Dramatic though the PGW collapse is, drilling

Pick a Title, Any Title
May 1, 2007

You only have so many titles to market to the public. How do you choose the right ones and how do you further their cause? It’s never an easy decision. One title you might acquire reads beautifully, but where’s the platform for marketing it? The author doesn’t exactly seem television-interview friendly. Another title has a famous person behind it, but it’s missing a little thing called substance. These are the dilemmas publishers face every day, and although choosing a title is certainly not easy, several publishers with a number of best sellers under their belts say that there are certain steps you can

The Answer to Escalating Textbook Prices?
May 1, 2007

Freeload Press, a Minnesota-based publisher and distributor, made headlines last year upon publishing college textbooks featuring advertising for everything from study guides to credit card companies. The company offers these books to students at significantly reduced prices in print or PDF format, and many for free download on its Web site. The goal is to offset the constantly increasing price of required course-reading materials for college students. Freeload now has almost 250 student versions available for download. An academic panel helps with ad placement in the PDF e-textbooks, and the “StudyBreak Ads” are placed in natural breaks in the printed books. Freeload Press Founder

Winning Teams = Winning Titles
May 1, 2007

Champaign, Ill.-based Sports Publishing LLC got its start in 1998 as a spin-off from Sagamore Publishing—publisher of parks, recreation and leisure textbooks—when the company published a biography of University of Illinois men’s basketball coach Lou Henson, a legend among basketball fans throughout the Midwest. The book was an instant hit, and a new company was born. Today, Sports Publishing puts out 80 titles annually, spanning college and professional teams and star athletes in almost a dozen sports. As vice president of sales and marketing, Dave Hulsey has been in sales and marketing since graduating from the University of Missouri in 1981. His career

Tapping the Supply Chain Opportunity
April 1, 2007

In Part I of this series, I described how supply chain thinking can be applied to business and career decisions. Correctly identifying your “value proposition” is the key to being able to diagram where in the chain of buying and selling relationships you can be most effective. Building on your core competencies, and recognizing that you need to manage your supply chain relationships becomes the business proposition. Chances are that when you first examine your supply chain, you will find that you have been a slave to it, rather than a master of it. I also noted that by rethinking and realistically recasting your

An Exhibition of Optimism
April 1, 2007

In the months following the Sept. 11 attacks, museum admissions declined sharply, exhibitions were cancelled, and in the turbulence, administrators began examining whether they could continue to publish books as a result. Today, “there is generally a very optimistic feeling, which is not to say it’s easy. It’s still very difficult, but it’s an exciting time, and I feel really good about our future,” says Yale University Press Publisher Patricia Fidler. “No one was saying that a few years ago.” Currently, her art and architecture division publishes 120 books annually, of which roughly 60 percent stem from Yale’s museum partners. Stephanie Medlock,

Publishing to a Higher Power
April 1, 2007

Dwight Baker, president of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Baker Publishing Group—the third-largest publisher in the Evangelical Christian publishing market—arrived in his position from a different starting point than most publishing company presidents, and he’s using that fresh perspective to put his own personal spin on religious publishing. His approach seems to be working. The company’s annual sales in 2006 surpassed $50 million, four of its publishing divisions saw double-digit growth, and it has a current New York Times Best Seller on the market with 1.4 million copies sold. The family business was founded in 1939 by Dwight’s grandfather, Herman Baker. When Dwight was a teenager, he

Management Tools for Saving Time and Money
April 1, 2007

Many publishing management solutions are available in today’s competitive marketplace that can help publishers automate and link business functions such as sales commissions, royalties, title management, fulfillment, invoicing, marketing, production management and more. As with choosing any solution, it is important to do extensive research on both the product and the company behind it. Ideally, you should be looking for a solution that won’t need to be updated every year, that can expand as your company evolves, and that will support your customer-centered business. “A solution must not only meet your needs today, but it must meet your needs five years from now. The

Future of Print Takes Center Stage at Book Business Conference & Expo
April 1, 2007

More than 1,000 publishing industry professionals converged on New York’s Marriott Marquis, March 5-7, braving a windy Times Square to attend the 2007 Book Business Conference and Expo. The future of print was a primary theme throughout both the exhibit hall, which housed approximately 100 industry suppliers and services, and the conference program, which was packed with more than two dozen sessions, roundtables and panel discussions relevant to book publishers looking for tools to manage their businesses in an ever-changing industry. “The conference hit on so many of the most significant issues facing book publishers that attendees and speakers alike were truly energized by

Random House, Lantern Books Among ‘SustainPrint.com Leadership Award’ Winners for Environmental Sustainability Efforts
March 26, 2007

The first-ever SustainPrint.com Leadership Awards were announced Mon., March 5 at the Book Business/Publishing Executive Magazine Conference and Expo in New York. Random House, Inc., Lantern Books, Fast Company magazine and the National Wildlife Federation took home the inaugural awards, which recognize book and magazine publishing companies for their achievements in environmental sustainability. They are presented by SustainPrint.com, which was developed by Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines to provide a central location for information and resources on environmental sustainability in printing and publishing. Two book publishers and two magazine publishers were recognized with inaugural honors. “We believe that leaders in environmental