Four-year-old Toby Press was successful enough in 2002 to convince company founder Matthew Miller to launch a number of new initiatives in 2003. First up is the March debut of Toby Large Type Editions. The new line will begin with large-print editions of three Naomi Ragen novels, Chains Around the Grass, Sotah and Sacrifice of Tamar, each of which will sell for $24.95. Miller said he plans to do six to eight large-type editions this year and 12 in 2004. Miller said the large-print line will initially feature backlist titles from his own list as well as titles from other publishers whose large-print rights he has acquired. Several Morris West works will be released in large print this summer. In 2004, Miller plans to release some large-print editions simultaneously with the traditional hardcover. "There's no reason not to," Miller said, adding that he's now acquiring large-print rights to all books he buys.
Miller said Toby, which has focused on literary fiction, will publish as many as 30 titles this year, up from 20 in 2002. The expanded list will include a move into commercial fiction that will feature three crime novels. More women's fiction is also planned.
Another addition to the list is Toby Classics, which will include some popular public domain titles (The Scarlet Letter) as well as "some unusual titles," Miller said. While Miller acknowledged that there is a lot of competition in the classics field, he thinks he's found a niche with quality titles that will sell for $7.95 in trade paperback and $9.95 in hardcover. Later in 2003 Miller will move Toby into serious nonfiction, "probably in the contemporary events area," he said.
The Danbury, Conn.—based company recently added a new sales manager, bringing the in-house staff up to six. Miller said Toby had a good 2002. It was the first year in which the publisher used commissioned rep groups to sell its titles to bookstores. Miller originally founded Toby on the direct-mail model, but abandoned that approach late in 2001 after the company had signed up only about half the number of members it needed to become profitable.