It’s 10 years to the day since we made delivery of the 1st small batch of a little blue A5 book to it’s author George Courtauld. Little did we know then that, one month and 190,000 copies later, it would top the Xmas Bestseller market!
You’ll forgive me the possible odd error/embellishment as I try and recall the story.
The author was travelling home on the train from London when he overheard a young boy answer “….wasn’t he the captain of the Starship Enterprise” to the question “Who was Admiral Nelson” that his mother had asked him. Shocked at this answer he was downright mortified when, on his return home, he found his own family unable to answer what he, as a patriotic Brit, thought every child should know. Determined to put things right he made up a series of posters that he stuck to the rear door of the loo, hoping that with little else to do for 5 minutes a day his kids would take things on board. Nothing complicated, just a set of key dates/facts that he changed regularly.
Now word got about and, before long, he was getting calls from friends, family and neighbours asking for copies. So this gave him an idea – why not make a concise listing and publish a book to be just the companion every parent and history teacher in the land would want. He wrote over the coming weeks and ended up with a 64pp A5 book that he took to publishers. However, they seemed less inspired by his story, and a series of knockbacks followed. But not to be deterred he contacted an old university friend in the business, raised some funding and went down the route of self publishing.
And that’s where we came in! The initial order was placed for 10,000 case bound (hard backed) copies of which the 1st 1,000 had to be delivered for a launch event he was putting on. An impressive guest list ensured the event was well attended and got the coverage it needed. Within hours the website was inundated with hits and almost fell over 48 hours later following a feature in the Daily Mail.
That day we got a call asking if we could bring forward the delivery date of the book printing for the remaining 9,000 copies. By the same afternoon we were quoting for doing another run altogether! Anxious to strike while the iron was hot we sampled a soft back version that was soon approved and in production….but before the last copy was even off press we took another call “How feasible to double the order to 20,000”!! Every other day we were being asked for another 10k and another, with lorries rolling out of Printhouse to distribution points for the major retailers on a daily basis. By mid-December we had not only worked 24-7 but had exhausted the entire UK supply of cream paper!! So it was with a great sense of satisfaction that we joined George for a celebratory glass on the 22nd Dec with his book sitting atop the bestselling book list.
So if you’ve got a great idea for next year’s stocking filler start getting it together over your leftover Turkey this holiday and come talk to us in the new year. As they say, next time it could be you.