Book packager and producer Melcher Media has announced that it is expanding into direct-to-consumer sales, marketing, and printing services.
"We're very excited after 30 years in business to be expanding our offerings," said founder and CEO Charles Melcher. "It used to be, for the first 30 years, we only did concept development through finished books—the whole editorial process: writing, photo editing, design and production."
But over the years, Melcher said, many of Melcher Media's clients also sought help with marketing.
"We saw that as a need," he said. "We've been very fortunate to work with all the great publishers, so in most cases, our books are distributed in partnership with another big house. But I think there's often a desire for a certain caliber of author or brand to want to invest to augment the marketing—or just to do it themselves."
In addition to offering such book marketing services as audience development, content strategy, influencer outreach, book launches, and PR, Melcher Media's direct-to-consumer services will cater to high-profile authors interested in selling books via their own platforms.
Ahead of the expansion, Amy Snook joined Melcher Media as head of growth.
"Each of our books is treated with such a bespoke and craft quality, and the marketing strategy will be too," said Snook, who previously worked in marketing and growth at Glossier, Poshmark, and SeatGeek. With her background in direct-to-consumer brands and digital-first marketing, Snook is interested in finding new ways to establish a "direct relationship with the reader," which she called "one of the biggest challenges that a lot of authors and publishers face."
For publishers and authors with printing needs that fall outside the scope of trade printers, Melcher Media will now also offer printing services, spearheaded by production director Susan Lynch.
"I would not be surprised if we find ourselves working [on printing] with mostly publishers there who even have production full time production departments," Melcher said. "But for that special book—that has to have objects falling out of it or die-cuts or all sorts of extra extra things, that needs to have sourcing in multiple places, that needs to have dozens of dummies made—that's the stuff that we just love, and love to be able to do really well."
Melcher is particularly passionate about the company's new printing services. A devout believer in the power of printed books, he insists print is "not going away," and in fact might just be due for "a renaissance."
"I think publishing needs to really play to its tactile, physical, analog strengths," he said. "It's time for publishers, for us bookmakers, to think of [the book] as an objet, as an art form, and celebrate that. I think that our books sell better, and we get invited to work with many of the world's most interesting people, because we want to make something beautiful."
Melcher launched Melcher Media in 1993. One of the company's first clients was MTV's nascent publishing arm, MTV Books. Since then, Melcher Media has gone on to work on media tie-in books for TV shows such as Stranger Things and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; corporate books for companies such as Microsoft and PepsiCo; and books by public figures such as Kobe Bryant, Al Gore, and Oprah Winfrey.
"I think that's one of the things that's special about the company is that we only do a small list every year," Melcher said. "We do something like six to 15 books a year, and our editors are working on anywhere from two to four books a year—that's a luxury in publishing."
Melcher aims to give that same specialized attention to marketing and printing clients as well, with plans to take on six to 15 per year.
"We're not expecting to be servicing thousands of authors or anything," he said. "We want to still have a focused list of clientele for our marketing efforts and the same for offering printing services."
As for who those clients might be, Amy Snook said that the company has "several lined up, and they run the gamut."