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Fast-Growing Independent Publishers, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
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By Jim Milliot and Claire Kirch (for Publishers Weekly) --

In the more than 20 years PW has been doing its fast-growing independent publishers feature, it is hard to find another year when publishers on the list reported such impressive growth rates. Five of the 11 publishers on this year’s list posted triple-digit revenue gains in 2016 compared to 2014, and two publishers saw their revenue shoot over the $10 million mark in the past year.

The company that had the biggest gain on this year’s list was founded in 2014, but it didn’t sell its first book until 2015. Cottage Door Press, which publishes children’s books, released 18 titles in 2015 and another 82 titles last year. It plans to publish 50 in 2017. Between 2014 and 2016, the press also doubled in personnel, from nine to 19 employees, and it is preparing to move from Barrington, Ill., to a larger facility in the Chicago suburb of Deerpark.

Cottage Door’s 2016 revenue skyrocketed 558% from the previous year’s figure. The publisher’s debut list in 2015 focused on titles for babies and toddlers up to age three, but the publisher intends to expand its target audience to include four- and five-year-olds, beginning with a line of titles published in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution.

Though Cottage Door Press is a young company, its apparent overnight success might be due to the fact that most of its staff are children’s publishing industry veterans—most notably its founder, Richard Maddrell, who served until his retirement as president of Publications International. Cottage Door’s creative team conceives, designs, and produces the press’s list with the assistance of freelance illustrators. The emphasis, says marketing manager Melissa Tigges, is on high-quality books that are “on top of current trends”—such as STEM and STEAM—and “hot formats,” including padded board books, lift-a-flap, touch-and-feel, books that make sounds, and books made with engineered paper....

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