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Spotlight: IBPA Member Achievements

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“Faster than a speeding bullet. Able to breeze through the densest business jargon in a single sitting. It’s not a bird or a plane but a new concept that has taken best-selling business books and transformed them into fully illustrated comic books,” in the words of a story about Round Table Companies in the May issue of Inc. magazine. The story, “Comic Books for Entrepreneurs: Six Popular Business Books Get an Illustrated Makeover,” describes the concept as “the brainchild” of Corey Michael Blake, who is president of the Mundelein, IL–based media company. And the six books, each 60–80 pages long, are based on such titles as The Long Tail by Chris Anderson and How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins.

Other national media have been similarly effusive: “How can a business book be condensed and made more approachable? By getting graphic,” wrote Fast Company. USA Today—which started its story, “They’re not Superman or Batman, but for some readers, the main characters in a recently released series of graphic novels are just as heroic and inspirational”—quotes Blake as saying, “The short format is perfect for professionals in the Twitter generation.”

Blake told USA Today that he loves “hearing from people who complained [about the comic book format] and then read one and then realized that what we’re creating are just great abbreviated versions of already great books.”

Publishers Weekly agreed, in a review of The Long Tail graphic edition that concluded, “While not as exhaustive as the prose edition, this adaptation is a clear introduction to the many topics Anderson explores.” And the review also said that “the book’s visuals help the reader to immediately understand Anderson’s arguments. . . . Although the book offers little in the way of advice or step-by-step guides, it is useful in encouraging readers to visualize Anderson’s by-now gospel observations.”

Round Table published its first six comic books in partnership with SmarterComics, which owns the rights to the digital editions. Round Table owns the rights to the print editions and shipped about 3,000 copies of each title beginning in mid-April. Within two months, a dozen libraries across the United States were already offering copies to patrons.

Blake reports that he has licensed most of the first six titles to publishers in the United Kingdom, Turkey, Indonesia, and Korea, and that he has developed partnerships in Japan (with Tuttle-Mori), China/Taiwan (with Grawhawk Agency), Korea (with Danny Hong), Greece (with Metzger Literary), and Eastern Europe (with Graal). What’s next? More graphic format editions of such bestsellers as Machiavelli’s The Prince for the U.S. market and foreign rights deals for these new releases.


Lerner Publishing Group’s first app, launched in June, is selling steadily, and publicist Lindsay Matvick reports the staff is excited about its new association with Apple.

Created in-house by a graphic designer, the app for Rebecca Johnson’s 64-page Journey into the Deep uses Apple’s standards for the iPad. “We had a very ambitious designer who took it upon herself to learn the design and coding process—the app came to life because of her!” reports Matvick, who said the project had “ a definite learning curve.” You can preview the app at itunes.apple.com/us/app/journey-into-the-deep/id440252493?mt=8&ls=1.


It’s nice to track who is reading your blog or visiting your Web site, something that many IBPA members say they do using Google Analytics (google.com/analytics). But Bill Boik at DBM Press cites an even more important reason to use the program: to spot bogus orders.

He recently received an unusually large order from someone who claimed to be an Australian bookseller. “I felt it was a scam,” he says, “but I checked out Google Analytics to see if anyone from the same city in Australia had been on our site recently.” No Australians in the previous two weeks had visited his site, Boik learned, but there had been a visitor in Lagos, Nigeria. Says Boik: “I challenged the individual, stating that I had traced the location as Nigeria and not Australia. He admitted it, claiming he was traveling on business. I told him to contact me when he was back in Australia. Never heard from him again (and he is probably still trying to figure out how I traced his email).”

Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (lindacarlson.com). She welcomes news of unusual special sales, licensing deals, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org. Remember to submit news items promptly. The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important. Please submit your information in the text of your email, and remember to include your name, title, and the name of your press. This column does not ordinarily use photos or other images. To ensure that you receive Linda’s emails, please check that her address has been added to the approved sender list in your email program—and that you have an updated email address on file with the IBPA office, ibpa-online.org.

Since information for Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of the Independent’s issue date, news that you submit by August 15 can be considered for the October and later issues. News that is time-sensitive and misses the Spotlight deadline—awards, events, upcoming television and radio appearances, and co-opportunities—should be directed to Lisa Krebs in the IBPA office at lisa@ibpa-online.org for inclusion in the IBPA newsletter, Independent Publishing Now.



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