With schools in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Toronto, the Learning Annex is looking to raise its profile. Steve Schragis, who was named executive director of the New York school this spring, has added the title of executive v-p of marketing for all five sites. Schragis is not only charged with attracting more students, but with strengthening the Annex's ties to the publishing community.

The Annex conducts one- or two-day seminars on a wide variety of subjects, with many classes taught by authors, and Schragis is eager to draw more authors to the classroom. The Annex is "very author friendly," Schragis said, noting that the company will work with publishers to promote an author's appearance. While authors are encouraged to sell their books relating to the course they are teaching, Schragis said the real benefit is the word-of-mouth publicity an author can generate by giving a course. "If an author is finished touring, this is a good way to keep his or her name in front of the public," Schragis said. "We're a good alternative for publicists who can't get their author on 60 Minutes," he added.

Schragis estimated that about 5,000 books per month are sold at its New York school, although the number can vary dramatically. A recent class conducted by Wayne Dyer resulted in the sale of about 2,000 books.

The Annex publishes eight catalogues per year, with courses tailored for the different cities. Business courses are favorites in New York, while the schools in California emphasize health and spirituality. In New York, the Annex uses street boxes to distribute 600,000—700,000 copies of its catalogue over a five-week period and mails 100,000 to Annex members. Schragis estimated that about 10,000 people take a course each month in its New York schools, with a similar number taking courses at the four other cities combined.

Schragis said that while some publishers are in contact with the Annex on a regular basis, others are not, although he expects to hear from more publicists now that America's war against terrorism continues to dominate media coverage. "We're a good outlet for authors when media opportunities dry up. We stay focused," he said.