Taylor Publishing — Capturing Memories

By Erik Cagle

Imagine the phone rings and it’s a potential customer. This person wants a short run of books, but has never purchased printing before and knows nothing about the process. Nor does the client have any background in publishing.

It’s a single print job with no follow-up editions. This customer isn’t exactly sure what he/she wants, but it should be memorable enough to please readers. Oh, and your customer is a group of teenagers, accompanied by an advisor. And, in a year, those teenagers will be replaced by another group of kids with absolutely no background in publishing.

Now, imagine that a majority of your customers fit this description.

Welcome to Taylor Publishing’s world.

It is a unique world, indeed, for the Dallas-based short-run book printer, which specializes in those treasured keepsake mementos known as high school yearbooks. Taylor Publishing produces yearbooks for more than 7,500 high schools annually, predominantly in the United States (with clients scattered throughout Canada and abroad).

Taylor Publishing executives, from the left: Don Percenti, senior vice president on campus and general manager, Print Div.; David Fiore, CEO; and Bill Cheney, vice president of manufacturing.

Taylor is undoubtedly a leader among high school and college annuals, having more than $114 million in sales for the fiscal year that ended August 31, 2002. While the company produces full-color, short-run publications (commemorative, annual and coffee table variety), it is best known for creating the tomes that capture moments in time shared by all—the common experiences which enable these hard-bound books to have everlasting shelf life.

“We do not view the yearbook business as a task of just printing a job,” states David Fiore, CEO of Taylor Publishing. “We view it as a total experience. It’s an annual publishing job conducted by an advisor and yearbook committee, primarily a new set of students who come together each year. They’re seeking to put together a fairly complex publishing project that carries a high degree of visibility within their respective schools.

“We provide the necessary assistance for a yearbook advisor to, in effect, teach journalism, as well as publish a book. We also provide the technology, from a software perspective, to put the book together. Our representatives guide them through the entire process—from the front end all the way through.

“It’s a merging of technology, people and education, all in one experience,” he adds. “Our job is to bring value, to make the advisor’s job easier and to allow the students to produce a unique yearbook with a minimal amount of difficulty.”

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