Slow-Cooked Sales: The Collectors Press Recipe for Success

November 2005
by Jenny McCune

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While many publishers are
into fast food—they want to cook up a bestseller that immediately
gratifies and fattens the bottom line—Richard Perry, a former executive
chef, focuses more on slow-cooked success for his company, Collectors Press in
Portland, Oregon.

His recipe calls for providing a
quality product and focusing on profits rather than sales. “We are much more
interested in seeing a profit than identifying gross sales as our benchmark,”
Perry says.

Perry started his company in 1992
with The Maxfield
Parrish Identification and Price Guide and sold some of the
Parrish prints from his own collection to finance it. Acting on a suggestion
from Richard Abel, the founder of Timber Press, the fledgling publisher “made
spreadsheets that spanned an entire wall, filled with cells that added,
subtracted, multiplied, and divided my empire-to-be only to find that few of
the numbers came to be.” Still, the experience was valuable. Perry remembers
that it taught him about controlling expenses, which he also sees as more
important for profitability than simply racking up sales. “Good ideas are
easier to come by than good ways to deliver those ideas affordably,” he observes.

Doing What They Do Better

Collectors Press books are
designed to take readers on “nostalgic journeys, using select collections,
innovative

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