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Pelican Using Lightning Print to Get Up to Speed
Bob Summer -- 8/10/98
Prior to the BookExpo America convention, Pelican Publishing had reprinted about two-thirds of the titles destroyed in the New Year's Eve fire that gutted the company's offices and warehoused inventory in Gretna, La. But during the trade show, Pelican president and publisher Milburn Calhoun was so impressed by Ingram's Lightning Print that production manager Tracey Clements has sent 153 remaining OS titles to be reprinted by the innovative print-on-demand system.
The paperback reprints done there will be the first to bear Pelican's new Firebird Press imprint, and sales manager Joseph Billingsley hopes they'll be available by the early fall. "Evidently Lightning Print has made a strong impact in the industry," he noted. "Our reprints are waiting in line to be scanned, which we're told will take a month to six weeks."

Nonetheless, Pelican is preparing another 100 Firebird reprints. When completed, this final tier will return to active status virtually all the 72-year-old house's backlist of approximately 800 titles (except for a few with formats the Ingram facility can't accommodate).

"Under normal circumstances Lightning Print would be a great boon, enabling us to avoid costly short-run reprints of slower-moving titles," added Billingsley. "But given our circumstances, it's more than a boon; it's a lifesaver. Also, it allows us to bring back into print a number of books in the public domain -- such as 200 Years of New Orleans Cooking -- we have wanted to do for some time, but hadn't found financially feasible until now."

Beside creating the Firebird line, Pelican finalized in early July the purchase of a 179,000-sq.-ft. Coca-Cola bottling plant in Gretna to be renovated as the company's offices and warehouse. Currently, a February occupancy is planned.
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