Associate Member Spotlight

Pediment Publishing helps newspapers increase revenue

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During nearly a dozen years as a newspaper publisher, Brad Fenison learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to ways to diversify revenue.

So in 1997, when he was approached by a company with a plan to publish a pictorial history of the community his newspaper served, he knew the proposal had its problems. Fenison liked the premise, but not the details. Among the drawbacks: The plan called for his paper's staff – already stretched thin – to do much of the work, and it required his community's local historical society to ship its precious and fragile images off to the company for reproduction, a risk the society was understandably reluctant to take.

Sean Ireland

Though the details were flawed, Fenison recognized that the concept was not. "So I saw an opportunity to take the idea presented to me and make it better," he said. "Using my experience in the newspaper business, I created a program that would generate significant alternative revenue and excellent brand extension for the newspaper without requiring newspaper staff time, out-of-pocket cash or financial risk."

The program Fenison built over the last 16 years with his Washington-based company, Pediment Publishing, has put into print more than 700 titles for newspapers ranging in circulation from 2,000 per week to 400,000 per day. While the company got its start with pictorial history books, it has expanded into other genres, including columnist books, disaster books, cookbooks, event anniversary books, photo contest books, biographies and sports books. Pediment has produced hard-cover volumes on the last six Super Bowls as well as several books about NCAA football and minor league baseball. In addition to book-publishing services, Pediment now offers online audience development with its CaptureTM online photo contest.

Pediment's book-publishing program is designed to be a turn-key solution for the company's newspaper partners, no matter what their size. "From our first book in 1997, we have been tracking and compiling sales histories that allow us to accurately project sales and profit for each newspaper based on their circulation," Fenison said. "These sales histories, together with the emphasis on pre-sales, take the risk out of book publishing for our clients."

And each proposal has a step-by-step guide that keeps the burdens of production off the newspaper's staff. "For our pictorial history books in particular, the newspaper's role need only be scheduling the promotional ads that we design and provide, and writing the foreword and brief chapter introductions," Fenison said.

The typical pictorial history book project begins with Pediment providing ads promoting public scanning sessions where readers are invited to bring their photos in to be scanned while they wait. Pediment facilitates the in-market scanning sessions, scanning people's photos and taking down their stories.

Brad Fenison

"During that same time we also work with formal archives from local libraries, historical societies, museums and other institutions," Fenison said. "Then Pediment provides a book pre-sale ad campaign developed using photos scanned from the public and these institutions. The pre-sale campaign continues while Pediment designs the book and provides proofs to the participating historical organizations and the newspaper. Once the book is ready to go to press, Pediment offers guidance and detailed sales histories from similar-size markets to help determine the right print quantity. Finally, when the book is completed, Pediment handles all distribution to consumers and booksellers."

Pediment's tailored book plans offer newspapers a convenient way to diversify their bottom lines while also building their brands. The locally focused books have become popular over the last decade not only because they tap new revenue streams but also because they can create goodwill among the newspaper's readers. "Our pictorial history books in particular are popular because they give readers a unique glimpse at their community through the years in an heirloom-quality coffee-table book that will last a lifetime," Fenison said.

"Newspapers are in a unique position to present books to their communities because they are and have long been the voice of the community. The newspaper's name on a book gives it instant credibility in the community. Our books are hyper-local – designed specifically to be of interest to a newspaper's circulation area. From a marketing standpoint, newspapers are perfectly positioned to promote these books to this target audience."

For more information about Pediment Publishing, contact Brad Fenison at (360) 687-6732.

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