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Success Story: Grey House Publishing

Proven success of BookFWD™ counters unpredictability of order levels

Grey House Publishing has published over 80 directory titles, as well as countless annual or semi-annual editions of many of these directories. As a premiere database publisher of specialized reference content in finance, government, environment and more, all of Grey House directories and reference books are carefully compiled and researched, offering content that is comprehensive and current.

A paradigm shift

For centuries, the book publishing industry has been forced to treat printing like a gamble: to print large quantities of books without knowing how many would sell in order to get the lowest possible unit price, rolling the dice one title at a time and adjusting their careful guesswork for the next on the basis of the previous title’s success.

When Webcom recommended looking into the BookFWD program, which differs fundamentally from traditional printing models, Grey House was cautiously optimistic. Short runs of high quality books at the same unit price as a large quantities run was a benefit they were eager to hear more about.

Grey House worked extensively with Webcom over a period of thought and evaluation, initially hesitant to throw all their chips onto the table. Webcom planned an approach to ease them into the BookFWD program with a customized version of our STEPfwd model that carried a no risk guarantee.


“By every measure we were impressed by the proposed benefits of Webcom’s BookFWD program. After the first year of breaking away from our traditional approach, the proven success of BookFWD makes sense on every level.”

Grey House Publishing
Laura Mars

Working with Webcom allowed Grey House to cut their turnaround times on short run case bound titles from 6 to 8 weeks down to 15 to 20 days

Fewer copies, same unit cost

As promised, the introductory model proved to be efficient, safe, and affordable, and Grey House began to experience the benefits immediately. Not only could they safely plan for the long term without being trapped in the “job-by-job” mindset, they were able to manage their inventory with greater efficiency, knowing that small order quantities would be just as affordable as large orders.

Eventually they transitioned from STEPfwd to a broader STRAIGHTfwd model, so that:

  • they could confidently and more precisely order the amount of stock they would need
  • if more runs were ever required, they could count on quick delivery with no cost surprises

Working with Webcom allowed Grey House to cut their turnaround times on short run case bound titles from 6 to 8 weeks to 15 to 20 days. Cost savings on production alone amounted to 25% in the first year.

Freedom to be flexible

In addition to the inventory management and cost-saving advantages, Grey House found that our digital inkjet technology provided them with greater adaptability in their book production. Books containing maps, for example, formerly had to group the maps together at the back of the book in order to minimize the cost of printing them in color.

Titles printed on Webcom’s T300, like Weather America, allow the publisher to position high quality four-color maps and diagrams at any point in the book, dispersed according to logic and design rather than the restrictions of outdated printing technology.

By taking advantage of this improvement, Grey House is now better positioned to provide its customers with quality, custom designed books. With the cost savings to their custom book titles afforded by BookFWD, Grey House has embraced the printing model of the future wholeheartedly.

Put our experience to work

  • Capabilities to support a whole title’s lifecycle

    Whether you need a few copies or a few thousands, we can deliver a balanced mix of digital inkjet and offset print.

  • Product customization

    We support niche markets with responsive turnaround and quick access to local distribution.

  • Diverse paper options

    Print on a wide range of paper types with custom finishes (from 20lb to 80lb).

  • Complete flexibility

    Advance reader copies, front and backlist reprints, and short and long runs when you need them.

  • Fulfillment & distribution

    Get your books to market quickly and dependably with direct shipment to your customers.

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