ACS is thrilled to announce that Egmont Magasiner of Denmark is the newest addition to the Advantage client list. Located in Hellerup, a suburb of Copenhagen, Egmont Magasiner publishes 17 consumer magazines in the areas of house and home, car and boat, parenting, computing, sports, leisure, travel and hobby, plus general men's and women's titles. Egmont Magasiner is one of about 20 companies in Europe which are part of the Egmont Foundation.
Egmont Magasiner chose Advantage after a thorough search and evaluation process lasting almost two years. The implementation project is underway with go-live planned for mid 2010.
Welcome, Egmont Magasiner, to the Advantage family!
Agora, Inc. is a holding company for more than 20 publishers of financial, health, travel and special interest books and newsletters -- each offering unique ideas, information and insights. Altogether, Agora companies publish more than 300 books and 40 newsletters, reaching 1 million readers from around the world.
Based in the historic Mount Vernon district of Baltimore, Agora is housed in a collection of 19th century mansions. They also have offices in London, Bonn, Paris, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Melbourne and Waterford, and many of their titles are available in French, Spanish, German and Italian.
The company's name has its origin in history. The Agora was a lively marketplace for the ancient Greeks, where people came not only to buy and sell goods but also to meet to exchange news and ideas. That same philosophy is what drives Agora, Inc.
As Agora founder and president William Bonner explains: "Agora is a publishing company. We offer our customers ideas, information, and insights. But we do so in a manner very different from that of the traditional publishing house. Rather than being centered on the medium—whether a given publication is, say, a book, a magazine, or a newsletter—Agora is centered on the ideas themselves. When we have something to say about a subject—whether it be speculative investing or natural health—we offer our ideas in many different ways, including books, newsletters, Web sites, conferences, tours and special reports.
The medium is important from a business perspective…but it is not as important as the message itself.And what is the message? We publish ideas on a variety of subjects. Some of these ideas are very practical—such as how to get the best price on an airline ticket. Others are rather abstract—such as our discussion of man's relationship to the state. But all of Agora's messages have something in common. They all celebrate the virtue of thinking independently and taking responsibility for your own life."
Agora became an Advantage client in 2000. The evaluation team wanted a better integrated system for their newsletters, supplements and list business. They were also looking for a system flexible enough to accommodate the fast-changing needs of their growing business. Daryl Berver, President of the Publishing Services Division, says: "We need our fulfillment system vendor to be a true partner, almost an extension of our staff, and we have that with ACS. Since we went live in early 2001, Advantage has been instrumental in Agora's continued evolution and growth."
Agora puts its publishing philosophy into practice in its business operations as well. Independent thinking and taking responsibility are watchwords of the business and technical staff, not just editors and writers. Currently, electronic marketing is a major focus, and Agora is looking to pave new ground in this area.
Tara Rebak, Vice President of Fulfillment Systems, has this to say: "When our business needs shift, we always know that ACS is going to be supportive of the new endeavors we want to pursue and they work with us every step of the way. We just completed a major implementation of the new customer service letters feature that will enable us to electronically reply to customer correspondence in a more efficient and timely manner. This was just another example of the partnership we've developed with ACS and why we'll continue to develop the functionality of the software."
WAUKESHA, Wis. How about some good news from the magazine-publishing industry? Kalmbach Publishing Co. of Waukesha, Wisconsin, is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2009 and still going strong.
This independent, niche publisher produces the world's best-selling magazines for model railroading (Model Railroader), scale modeling (FineScale Modeler and Scale Auto), beaded jewelry making (BeadStyle and Bead&Button), astronomy (Astronomy), and railroading (Trains).
Kalmbach publishes 15 magazines and a host of special-interest publications. Its book department produces 35 books annually. Kalmbach maintains nearly 30 Web sites, and it produces the world's largest jewelry making show, the annual Bead&Button Show in Milwaukee.
Collectively, more than 1 million enthusiasts worldwide read Kalmbach print publications, not to mention the tens of millions that visit the company's online properties. In 2008, the company generated more than $50 million in sales for the sixth year in a row.
Albert Carpenter Kalmbach founded A. C. Kalmbach and Co. in 1933, one year after graduating from Marquette University. In January 1934, Al combined his two passions of publishing and model trains when he introduced the first issue of The Model Railroader magazine. By July of that year, the magazine's paid circulation surpassed 1,000.
From 1943 to 1989, Kalmbach grew from two magazines Model Railroader and Trains (both still in publication today) to 15 magazines.
In 1989, the company moved to its current location in Waukesha. In the 20 years at the Waukesha location, Kalmbach has doubled its sales, from $26 million (1989) to $54 million (2008).
Throughout its 75-year history, Kalmbach has maintained its founder's core business philosophy: Put the customers first.
"The customer is the real boss of us all," Al once wrote. "Not a cent can be paid out for payroll unless it comes in from the customers, and not a one of us would have a job for long if we didn't please the customers."
Al's commitment to extraordinary customer service was ahead of its time, and his principles remain the foundation of the company's business practices today.
"We're proud of the fact that customers that subscribed to Model Railroader in the 1950s remain loyal subscribers to this day," Kalmbach President Gerald B. Boettcher said. "That tells us that we're keeping true to Al's editorial and service standards."
In addition to its editorial properties, Kalmbach produces the annual Bead&Button Show, the world's largest consumer bead event.
About 15,000 jewelry-making enthusiasts travel to Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines Center to attend this weeklong event that features more than 500 classes and workshops, an international marketplace, silent and live auctions, and a chance to mingle with the world's foremost experts on the craft.
Kalmbach Publishing Co. plans to continue to grow by actively monitoring trends and looking for opportunities to acquire existing products and launch new ones.
ACS is proud to have provided software and services to Kalmbach for almost 27 years.