Changing the Model
Hancock realized that a key to his success would lie in his ability to change the traditional publishing model by printing more books to order and carefully managing them through the distribution channel to maximize visibility for the author while at the same time minimizing the costs of inventory and returns. He says, “This is where Lightning Source came in. I was not only intrigued by their innovative business model, but I was also attracted by their relationship with The Ingram Book Group, a well-established, well-respected entity I wanted to ultimately establish a relationship with myself. By partnering with Lightning Source early on, as my business grew I would be well positioned to expand that relationship to Ingram when the time was right.” Additionally, Hancock liked the fact that by working with Lightning Source, not only would he be able to produce books to order, but he could also work through Lightning Source to produce longer offset runs of books when appropriate.
He adds, “Our primary objective is to publish good books. To do that, of course, we need to help our authors write good books. But we also need to manage the inventory in such a way that we can be profitable. Lightning Source gives us a good mix of offset and print to order to keep just ahead of the demand, keeping our expense outlay to a minimum.”
By partnering with Lightning Source and Ingram Publisher Services, Morgan James has dramatically reduced the time it takes for a book to go from manuscript to market. With Lightning Source as the production arm, Morgan James can also take advantage of extensive services and distribution options in the United States, Canada and The United Kingdom that complement the IPS offerings.
One recent title, The Millionaire Messenger, by Brendon Burchard, literally went from manuscript to #1 New York Times Best Seller in less than 60 days! “Morgan James Publishing is a great example of how publishing should work,” said J. Kirby Best, former Lightning Source CEO. “There is absolutely no reason why an author should have to wait nine months to a year to see a book in print. We are proud of the role we have played in helping Morgan James and its authors achieve success.”
New York Times rankings are based on figures of almost 4,000 bookstores and of wholesalers serving 50,000 hardcover retailers and 60,000 paperback retailers (gift shops, department stores, newsstands, supermarkets). The numbers are statistically weighted to represent sales in all such outlets nationwide.
Hancock comments, “Some of the more traditional publishers print 5-10,000 books, ship them to stores and hope they sell, with an industry average of 40% or more being returned to the publisher. My banking background says that is ludicrous. With Lightning Source and IPS, we have strategically placed books in bookstores in partnership with those stores, keeping our average returns at less than 25%. And we achieve great credibility for our authors. The model has worked well for us. It makes more financial sense to manage our distribution effectively than it does to waste money on printing and shredding like much of the industry does.”