Nolo has promoted David Rothenberg to president and CEO following the departure of Linda Hanger, who is joining Evan-Moor Educational Publishers as president. Rothenberg has been with Nolo since 1997 and had most recently served as v-p for finance and chief financial officer. He will report to Nolo chairman Ralph Wagner.
Bob Dubow, one-time v-p of finance at Publishers Group Inc., has been named to take over Rothenberg's finance and accounting duties, while Ann Heron has been appointed to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Heron will continue to be responsible for Nolo's technology functions and will add oversight of the self-help legal publisher's customer service, fulfillment and human resource areas.
Rothenberg told PW that Nolo "had a little bit of growth" in the fiscal year that ended May 31. The soft spot for the company was the library market, which accounts for about 20% of the company's sales. Nolo's fastest-growing segment in the last few years has been small businesses. After operating for years on the assumption that individuals were its primary customers, market research conducted by Nolo found that small business owners were its biggest customer block, Rothenberg said. To accommodate the needs of that market, Nolo has been gradually broadening its list by adding more business-related products and in fiscal 2005 will release its first accounting title, Rothenberg said.
The company's largest marketing channel continues to be the book trade, which Rothenberg said accounts for about one-third of Nolo's revenues. About 20% of its sales comes from its Web site, while another 20% is generated through special sales and licensing deals. During the Internet boom, Nolo changed its name to Nolo.com as it geared up to do most of its business online. But while the Web still figures prominently in Nolo's strategy, books and software remain crucial to its success. "We've all grown up a little," Rothenberg said. "We realize the Internet is just another way to deliver information."
Nolo publishes about 10 new books annually, and devotes a significant amount of time to revising its 100-title backlist. "Our backlist is our strength," Rothenberg said. All of Nolo's print titles are available as e-books, which are sold via the Nolo site.
He is optimistic that fiscal '05 will have stronger growth than the past year due in part to an improving library market. Nolo will also be on the lookout this year for more partnerships as it marks its 20th year in business with one of its most important partners, Quicken. The various WillMaker software products have been one of the company's steadiest selling lines, and in the coming year Nolo will publish a book—disc combination with the tentative title of WillMaker Estate Planning Essentials.