The college town of Ann Arbor, Mich., has recently been the unlikely hotbed for the production of a number of national bestsellers. Book manufacturer Thomson-Shore, in nearby Dexter, produced the first volume of The Autobiography of Mark Twain, published by the University of California Press—a book that many booksellers had a hard time keeping in stock this holiday season. And book printer Malloy, which is in Ann Arbor, produced The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, which was published by Red Wheel/Weiser and selected as one of “Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things” on her November 19 show—leading to a six-week run on PW’s bestseller list, including a stint in the #1 spot.
Conari first published Awakening in spring 2000; Red Wheel/Weiser acquired the book when it purchased Conari in 2002. It is a collection of inspirational stories and essays, parceled out one day at a time for one year.
Up until Oprah’s endorsement, Malloy had produced about 50,000 copies of the $18.95 paperback. When Red Wheel/Weiser heard about Oprah’s seal of approval, the publisher talked to Malloy about preparing a big inventory of the title, which was by then 10 years old (but continually in print). The bulk of the printings were done at Malloy, “and they were truly amazing,” said Michael Kerber, president and CEO of Red Wheel/Weiser. The publisher used Malloy’s Title Support Services to quickly respond to demand, and now has nearly 250,000 copies of the book in print—with “more in the pipeline,” in the words of Cathy Strider, Malloy’s sales rep for Red Wheel/Weiser. The publisher also utilized digital printing capabilities at its warehouse through a partnership with Books International and IBT Global to help it keep up with what Kerber called a “tidal wave of orders” in the days immediately following the show's airing.
The Malloy staff has been energized by Awakening’s success. The company’s president, Bill Upton, said his staff has posted recent bestseller lists on bulletin boards in its plant “and everyone here has seen The Book of Awakening right there at the top,” Upton said. “Our entire staff has worked together beautifully to keep turning out these orders. No one is ready to cry uncle about working overtime. In fact, the level of enthusiasm has ratcheted up with each additional order.”
Awakening is not the only recent hit book that Malloy has printed. The printer has recently done several runs—350,000 copies in all—of two other bestsellers (Upton would not reveal the titles). He credited Malloy’s creation of an expedited schedule option under its Title Support Services one year ago as helping the company expand. “We’ve actually outperformed ourselves by being able to do many print runs that exceed our stated maximums for expedited schedules,” he said.