Keeping Tabs on Supply and Demand
Educational publisher Labyrinth Publications responds to its growing success with the implementation of new technologies and services.
WHO HASN'T considered making a radical career change at some point in his or her life? But how many people have the guts to take the plunge? Brian Favro had what it takes: desire and determination.
"I went through a career change in the early '90s and I decided to get into teaching computers," Favro recalls. "I found, however, that I wasn't very happy with the materials I was using in the classroom, so I started writing my own handouts."
Thus marked the beginning of what is now Labyrinth Publications, El Sobrante, CA, when, in 1992, Favro added publishing to his résumé. Initially, Favro (who is now Labyrinth's president) wore many hats, acting as writer, designer and production manager. Using Xerox DocuTech technology, he was able to generate small runs of simple, one-color instructional manuals for the computer generation. As business grew, Favro realized he had tapped into a successful niche market and began taking a closer look at the way his titles would be produced.
Anticipating longer runs in his future, Favro partnered with Courier Corp., North Chelmsford, MA, which now handles the print production for more than 15 titles under the Labyrinth umbrella.
"When I first went to Courier, we were doing runs between 1,000 and 3,000. Now, we average between 3,000 and 10,000 for each run we do," Favro explains. Ancillary products, such as instructor's guides, are produced in smaller volumes on Xerox DocuTechs.
The design and production of Labyrinth's titles are, as Favro claims, based on "homemade" methods. "As strange as it may sound, our Microsoft Office book, which constitutes a large part of our market, was basically done using a design that we put together ourselves. It was done as a one-color piece, and we actually used, believe it or not, Microsoft Word—a word processor!" Favro exclaims.