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Landoll Inc.--Never Give Up, No Matter What

March 1998
The competition said, "Dream on!" And that's exactly what he did—until his dream became a $100 million reality.

Relentlessly pursuing a vision—to create a niche market for brand-name children's books priced under $5—Jim Landoll, founder and CEO of Landoll Inc., not only developed a niche, he created an empire. He claims that, as of last year, his firm became the country's 10th largest book printer, ninth ranked book manufacturer and sixth leading publisher of children's books.

The company, located in Ashland, OH, recorded an outstanding 41-percent increase in sales, catapulting from $71 million in 1996 to an estimated $100 million in 1997 (final figures weren't available at press time). Pretty amazing statistics considering the company burned to the ground in 1992.

The competition thought Landoll was finished after the fire. But the printer/publisher was back in business 90 days later, operating in a four-story converted pump station.

From the ashes, Landoll has risen like a phoenix to garner more than 30 miles of retail space in nearly 160,000 outlets, including Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Rite Aid and Revco, to name but a few. So great was the comeback that Landoll was cited in Success magazine's "Great Comebacks" of 1994.

Greater still is the fact that last year Landoll sold more than 500 million books, including 700 new releases, that contain some of the hottest cartoon characters on the market. Landoll has a bank of more than 2,500 licensing agreements (more than any other domestic publisher, Landoll President Marty Myers reports) with the likes of Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and Dreamworks. In addition, Landoll signed a recent agreement with Warner Brothers to sell its characters internationally.

Landoll's licenses include Looney Tunes, The Land Before Time, Peanuts, the Muppets, Animaniacs, Scooby-Doo, Batman and Robin, and Rugrats. (Ninety days after licensing "Rugrats," the line was placed in 75,000 retail outlets, including Kmart, where it sells 35,000 copies per week.)

Besides a cast of characters, Landoll products feature dozens of creative formats ranging from coloring books and card games to storybooks and stickers.

Landoll also publishes a line of educational products that offer traditional subjects such as reading and math, as well as a home-school curriculum.

"Reading is so important to a child's education and development, especially in the formative years. It's always been my dream to publish good books that parents can read to their children," Landoll says. "Reading brings families together in an old-fashioned way."

True to His Niche
Landoll's success has been earned in an old-fashioned way. He's been true to his dream of producing brand-name children's books priced under $5. In fact, many are value-priced at $1.99, based on a concept of "price points" for moms, who buy for quality, content and price.

 

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