- Harvey Popell, Aldus Press
Winter/Spring 2011, Volume 21, Number 1
Another Title Support Services Success Story
What would be your reaction to a call from The Oprah Winfrey Show telling you that Oprah was about to name a title of yours - published ten years ago - one of her “Ultimate Favorite Things” for the holidays? Joy and exaltation? Disbelief? Dread? Possibly, all of the above! The knowledge that millions of people will soon hear Oprah endorse one of your books brings with it blissful anticipation of having a best seller on your hands, and gut-wrenching anxiety about the possibility of not being able to print books fast enough, or filling a warehouse full of books to meet a windfall that never materializes.
This exact scenario played out for Red Wheel/Weiser Publishing (RWW) last September when they learned that Oprah would soon name The Book of Awakening, by Mark Nepo, one of her “Ultimate Favorite Things” for the holidays. This title was originally published by Conari Press in the spring of 2000, a publisher that RWW purchased not long thereafter. Though The Book of Awakening had been a steady seller for RWW over the years, its sales history didn’t suggest it was destined for the PW Best Seller list. So when RWW received the good news from Oprah’s staff, they contacted Malloy to see how fast we could crank up the presses. RWW was delighted to learn that our Expedited Schedules service and our ability to ship books direct to retailers would enable them to meet demand and avoid the risk of taking on more inventory than they might be able to sell.
With Expedited Schedules, Malloy can process a reprint in as few as three days for a modest premium. Though Expedited Schedules comes with some limitations (which we were able to waive in the case of The Book of Awakening), they allow customers to get a quick turnaround without having to negotiate for one or hoping that we can find a hole in our schedule. With Expedited Schedules, our commitment is to produce your books
when you need them.
We printed over 120,000 copies of The Book of Awakening during the critical period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. By printing in batches equal to actual demand, RWW kept pace with the holiday sales crush without taking on thousands of unsold books when demand tapered off.
Our sales representative for RWW, Cathy Strider, who held a senior management position at O’Reilly Media before joining Malloy, captured the scenario
perfectly: “The news of Oprah picking one of your backlist titles as one of her “Ultimate Favorite Things” for the holidays is every publisher’s dream. But, that dream can turn into a nightmare if the publisher can’t get books quickly enough to keep up with demand. If the books aren’t available, the orders from consumers can disappear. Our ability to do fast schedules on short notice enabled Red Wheel/Weiser to avoid being in back-order situations. Also,
our flexibility in doing large drop-shipments directly to retailers helped accelerate delivery of the books and eliminate some supply-chain costs.”
Demand for our Expedited Schedules service has grown steadily since its introduction last year. We now average about one title per week in the program. So, with or without an Oprah endorsement in your future, if demand spikes for one your books, enjoy the ride knowing that Malloy’s Expedited Schedules service has you covered.