Sleeping Bear Press: The House a Lost Golf Book Launched

February 2002
by Judith Appelbaum

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Looking back on 2001, Sleeping Bear President Brian Lewis reports that revenues were up 30% over 2000 and says he expects this year to be up as well–”$8 million minimum for 2002.” It didn’t figure. Sleeping Bear Press in Chelsea, MI (named by Lewis’s wife for “the 500-foot white sand dune that drops directly into Lake Michigan”) got its start in 1994 with what looked like a foolhardy leap of faith.

Lewis had, he explains, come across a manuscript filled with insights into golf; it was called The Spirit of St. Andrews. Written in 1933 by the eminent golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, it had never been published and Lewis loved it. When it came his way, Lewis was in his early 30s and working for Times Mirror, running a technical environmental publishing operation that he’d sold them four years earlier. They “declined to publish” MacKenzie’s book, Lewis remembers, whereupon “everyone said I’d be crazy to publish it and quit my job. So I quit.”

 

If You Publicize It, We Will Buy

Although he “didn’t know anything about trade publishing and had no bookstore relationships,” Lewis got through to a buyer at Borders. “If you drive people to my stores, I can react,” the buyer told him. Once “we called them up and said we had this lost manuscript,” The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times,Golf mag…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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