Many years ago Maurine and I came up with our company motto: Have Fun! Oh yes, we have all the deeper mission statements attached to our hearts and minds (and business plan), but in all we do we want to enjoy our work because we know that if we do, you probably will too.
So, something fun is in the works at Meridian-again. A natural outflow of all that we’re doing at Meridian is to form a print-publishing arm-and so we have: Meridian Publishing (clever name, don’t you think?). We have had so many authors come to us wondering if we could possibly act as publisher for a book they want to write, we decided to do it. We’ve been authors or editors to more than a dozen books ourselves and some of our Meridian writers have authored a dozen or even two-dozen titles. What a team we can make!
Let’s face it: we live in a new world of fast-breaking technological advances. Meridian is a great example of that. We run a company with a small staff, and over a hundred writers (with over two hundred correspondents) and everyone works out of their home (or works from their vacation in Tahiti, Florida or France) or from wherever they have an Internet connection. Meridian is a miracle (of course, I still think a telephone is a miracle).
So, how can we afford to warehouse all the books that we are going to publish (it costs a lot to publish a book using old-school approaches)? Well, we start by not building a warehouse and we completely side-step the old-school approach. With the new technology we publish books “on-demand.” That means your book is not printed until someone actually orders it. Shortly after you press “Confirm Order,” a print signal is sent to our system and a book begins printing in real time. This means that within a few hours of receiving the order the book is being printed, bound and packaged for delivery to the buyer’s address. We never have to store one extra book anywhere, except for in our computer servers. Our computers are the new “warehouses.” It’s amazing. We can handle as many orders as you give us. Our technology partners are capable of fulfilling hundreds of thousands of orders per month and will expand to our growing needs. They have recently opened a satellite operation in Amsterdam so that we can fulfill orders directly to the European Continent without the overseas shipping costs. Is that wonderful? There are plans for other satellite operations in Australia, Asia and elsewhere and our needs increase. Sound unbelievable? Well, it is to me.
Once a book is completed (written, edited, re-edited, proofed and pored over) and the cover designed, we can literally have that book ready to publish in a matter of a few days. And this is just the beginning.
Our First Title
You have to start somewhere and so we have engaged Trish Manwaring, our assistant editor at Meridian Magazine, and Bill Farnsworth, a very talented artist/illustrator, to compile our first book: Cheerios in the Chapel. This is the illustrated version of the VERY popular Latter-day Laughs on Meridian that thousands of you read each week. We are thrilled with the results-and you will be too. In fact, before you finish reading you can just go right to the site and look over the book (and order it)! Click here to see.
Cheerios in the Chapel is a book by you-the contributors of Meridian Magazine. Have you ever submitted a latter-day laugh to Meridian over the years? It may be in our first book, Cheerios in the Chapel. Has someone in your family submitted a laugh? It may be in Cheerios in the Chapel. We’ve had so much fun publishing this book (and we plan to do many more of this same genre), we think you’ll have fun reading it.
More Titles Coming
We have no less than eight more books in various stages of development-which will soon be available. As many of you already know, the mysterious Dr. Bridell will soon be releasing his book through Meridian Publishing (I would buy it for the cover alone, but the insides are even better!). The very popular and very important Brain Gone Wrong series (with much-expanded writing) by Dr. W. Dean Belnap will soon be available. Dr. Wally Goddard’s amazing series on the first principles of marriage is scheduled for release. We’ve even engaged New York Times best-selling author, Richard Eyre to do a book later this year (that we’re very excited about)!
What is our goal? We want to become the most author-friendly publisher anywhere. Period. We think we can offer authors a contract that is unheard of and that will reward them fairly for their extremely hard work. Authors are paid notoriously small percentages of a book’s retail price, and we can substantially beat the old-school-contract prices and allow the author the freedom to produce great quality works without thinking his or her efforts were in vain.
Because Meridian is already a platform-a giant variety store, if you will-we are just formulating an aisle for books. That’s all it is right now, an aisle (perhaps better said, we’re starting with a small display). But with scores of thousands of people passing through our “store” every day, many people will see the display and many of those will want to buy those books. What a boon for authors! And what a boon for you as Meridian readers who are looking for great materials to have in your homes! Is this fun, or what?
Another Goal-Perhaps the Most Important One
Maurine and I have had the immense privilege of traveling all over the world and meeting with the Saints, in their homes, in diverse locations and countries. One thing we’ve noticed outside the United States is that the libraries, in the native tongues, of “church books” are very, very sparse or, in most cases, non existent. Also, running Meridian for the past eight years has taught us that there are many, many Latter-day Saints all over the world who are hungry for great material to enrich and inspire their lives. Meridian has played a great role in filling some daily needs for those who are Internet-connected and can speak English.
What viable business model is out there where we can possibly afford to get wonderful “church books” out to our precious fellow Saints in Germany, Russia or Brazil? There just is not one-until now. Think of it: What if we translated, for example, Lucy Mack Smith’s History of the Prophet Joseph (one of our favorite books in the world) into Russian or Swedish? How about Wally Goddard’s book on the first principles of marriage? And how about a hundred or a thousand other titles added to the list? What if we could only sell a few hundred copies a year or a few hundred copies total? Is that worth our time? YES! A thousand times YES! Because once we have the translation (and there are ways to get works translated for an economical price), we can then offer the book or product to our audience and as the need is there, the books are published-on demand only.
And with our satellite office in Amsterdam, we are able to ship, in a timely and cost-effective manner, to our friends throughout the European Continent. The same thing will hold true for Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, French, Finnish, and, of course, Mandarin, or any other language. This is very, very exciting. Our hearts yearn to do this and bless the Saints with this technology.
Can you imagine if you had access to say, only ten church books for your entire library? Or maybe you could only have three (not counting the scriptures or official Church materials, of course)? How would that feel? We here in the United States (and especially those in Utah) are very, very spoiled. We have access to mounds and mounds of church-related, faith-promoting, powerful, wonderful books. But that is just not the case elsewhere. This new approach and technology, through Meridian and our publishing partners, will change all that.
Support Meridian’s Model
This is a bold initiative. We’re not a mega-conglomerate corporation, but we have a global company that is in hundreds of thousands of homes in more than 196 countries and territories and we can bless the lives of a lot of people-with your support. Let’s start with that first title. We’re going to pour the profits right back into Meridian so that we can continue to bring you what Meridian has been giving you for the past eight years. Click here to go check out Cheerios in the Chapel. Thank you!