Winslow Press, the startup that marries children's books and the Web, has laid off more than half its staff and is planning to file for Chapter 11 "to protect what we have," explained company founder Diane Kessenich. Kessenich said that although the books were well received and sales in 2001 exceeded expectations, the company found itself in a financial bind when new investment funds did not come through. "Unfortunately, anything that's new is also expensive," Kessenich told PW. The financial situation was further complicated when a project the company invested $400,000 in did not come through.

Winslow is now operating with eight employees, down from 20. All staff are now located in Winslow's New York City office; it closed its Florida facilities last summer. With its new limitations, Winslow will concentrate its resources on its two main series, Dear Mr. President, which has five books in print, and Hourglass Adventures, which has four books in print and two more in development. The books have done well in the library, school and consumer markets, which Winslow reaches through Publishers Group West. The Hourglass line, which features $4.95 mass market paperbacks, has done particularly well lately. Following an order from Target, the company just went back to press for a second printing for the entire series, bringing the in-print total to 35,000 copies each of the four books.

The company has published 41 books to date. Each title includes a prompt to go to Winslow's Web site (, where further details about the information in the book can be found. The company has a patent on the proprietary technology used to link the books to the Web. "We're hopeful we can move forward with a more focused program," Kessenich said.