A lot has happened in the publishing world since entrepreneur, attorney, and finance and real estate expert Jim Randel launched his line of short self-help books last year. And for Randel, whose company is Rand Publishing, the ever-increasing interest in e-books has been nothing but helpful. Rand has had success with its print books—it is up to 100,000 copies in print—but its e-books have done well, too. "Perhaps because of our format" (the books are short and feature content that is easily read on the go or in spurts) "our e-books are particularly attractive to e-readers, and our sales have increased by 100% per month for the last four months," said Randel.
Located in Westport, Conn., Rand has now published 10 books and is releasing a new title every other month. The books are paperbacks, priced between $12.95 and $14.95, illustrated with drawings of stick figures, and can be read in about an hour. Until recently, Randel had written all the books, including The Skinny on Willpower: How to Develop Self-Discipline and The Skinny on Credit Cards: How to Master the Credit Card Game, which got a mention in the New York Times Magazine in May. Its next book, due in August, is The Skinny on Networking. The company has hired three additional writers for the forthcoming titles The Skinny on Pregnancy, The Skinny on Freshman Year in College, and The Skinny on Bullying (written for nine-to-12-year-olds).
Rand's e-books are available in EPub, Mobipocket, and PDF formats and are for sale in the Kindle store; iBookstore; its own Web site, TheSkinnyOn.com; and Lulu.com. BN.com will begin selling Rand books for the Nook in August, as will Borders.com for Kobo.
In January of this year, Rand sold rights to the Skinny On series to Dante Publishing in Korea and to Tan Thu Publishing Company in Vietnam. Last June, the house's first book, The Skinny on the Housing Crisis, won a book award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. The book also received an endorsement from former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. Randel said several universities have adopted Rand books for classroom purposes, and the house has collaborated with the USO to get 2,000 Skinny books to nine military bases.