Indie Groundbreaking Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

This piece, by Jim Barnes, originally appeared on Independent Publisher.

50 days. An offset-printed book, from concept to the street in 50 days. Unheard of, right?

Yes, it’s unheard of, but it happened. San Francisco-based Berrett-Koehler published Agenda for a New Economy, by David Korten, in just seven weeks and two days — just in time for the inauguration of President Obama.

The book questions the Wall Street bailout and argues that our hope lies not with Wall Street but with Main Street, creating real wealth from real resources to meet real needs, and returning to an economy firmly rooted in the long-term health of people and the planet.

How the Berrett-Koehler team accomplished this feat is a tribute to the energy and resourcefulness of a dedicated independent publisher, the expertise of a brilliant author, and the technical abilities of a cutting-edge book printer.

It all began back in the fall of 2008, when best-selling author Korten, whose previous books, When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community are considered must-reads for understanding our global economy, was asked by YES! magazine to write an article about the big Wall Street bailout. The piece argues that the bailout was a mistake, and calls out to President Obama for a “basic redesign of our economic institutions.”

Meanwhile, Steve Piersanti, president and publisher at Berrett-Koehler, found himself awaiting jury duty in his Contra Costa County, California courthouse, and having brought along some reading material, read Korten’s article. It must have had a big impact. By the next evening Piersanti and Korten had brokered an agreement — with one important stipulation – books had to be ready in time for a major presentation by Korten on January 23 at the Trinity Institute on Wall Street.
Agenda For A New Economy
“Here is one of the most important, most timely, and most exciting books on which I have worked during my 27-year career as a book editor,” Piersanti recalls thinking. "Would such a timeframe even be a possibility?"

In order to get the book from concept to finished product as quickly as possible, Piersanti knew he would need an extraordinarily fast printing schedule. Enter Malloy Incorporated, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based, family-owned printer that offers a new express offset printing service for this kind of "rush job."

“We understand the value to Berrett-Koehler of getting this time sensitive book out when the new administration takes office” said Bill Upton, president of Malloy. “We saw this last year with a biography of Sarah Palin when she was picked by John McCain, and the overnight success last June of the memoir by former White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan.”

“Publishers need to capitalize on sales opportunities that suddenly materialize due to events beyond their control. We introduced Express Service for the publisher who needs more than a few hundred books right away. They come out ahead going with offset printing at Malloy versus a digital printing solution.” [Publetariat editor’s note: POD is a digital solution]

Read the rest of the article at Independent Publisher.

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