COURIER CORP. -- Textbook Example
The specialty trade segment has performed splendidly for Courier, with sales up more than 10 percent over the prior year, according to Tobin. Call it the "When Harry Met Hillary" syndrome—the fallout from massive best sellers from the Harry Potter franchise and the former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, helped stimulate the recent momentum in the U.S. trade market following a sluggish first half of 2003.
"Last year, publishers were still reeling from lighter demand and the impact of 9/11," Tobin says. "This year, publishers have allowed their inventories to build up a little more. There have been more titles and we've also seen reprint activity pick up."
Backlist titles have enjoyed an infusion from the rebirth of Oprah Winfrey's book club. For example, John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," published 55 years ago, received the kiss of life when Winfrey promoted it during the club's triumphant return. "The backlist fuels a publisher's profits and sales, which is nice to see," he comments.
The religious sector is off a tick from 2002 levels as publishers become more selective in their titles, according to Tobin, who envisions 2004 to mirror its predecessor year. "Trade will continue to hold its own and, if the economy gets stronger, trade gets stronger," he says.
"Higher ed continues to be healthy because enrollments are high. There are a lot of new titles and new publishing programs that are going into place. Demand continues to be strong for textbooks. Next year is not a major year for el-hi adoptions. Obviously, this area is highly dependent on a strong economy. But I think 2004 will be the same as 2003 for the el-hi and religion segments."
|Taking a closer look is Rob Chilton, plant manager for National Publishing.|
Courier acquired National Publishing in 1975. According to National Chairman George Nichols, aggressive investments in a new Timsons web press and automated binding equipment have expanded its scope beyond lightweight paper printing.