One of my first bosses – himself a long-time acquisitions editor — offered a meaningful insight about the road to success in publishing. Despite the amount of research and networking required, he contended serendipity played an important role in an acquisitions editor’s success. In the book I published in late 2018 recounting the first 25 years of Doody Publishing, I described the origins of the seminal business plan, the research that went into identifying book reviews as a decision-making tool for librarians as a viable market opportunity, and especially the care that went into recruiting and inviting people to join the enterprise. But despite the careful planning and plodding, serendipity has more than a cameo role in this story. Good fortune and cracker-jack timing complemented hard work and focus, making this 25-year milestone achievable.
Like serendipity, another recurring “character” in the company’s history has been Oak Park, my hometown. The village has been central to many of the plot lines of Doody Publishing, especially given how many employees over the years have been Oak Park residents. The company has had five offices in the 25-year period, three of them in downtown Oak Park near the intersection of Marion and Lake Street, one of Oak Park’s main commercial streets. Oak Park residency has consumed 17 of the company’s 25 years. We spent two years in a soulless office complex off the tollway in Lisle while under divine’s ownership, then six fun years on the Magnificent Mile while renting space from Mark Coe’s company, CTI. Despite those nomadic wanderings, Oak Park has always been Doody Publishing’s home.
Just as the company has had multiple locations, so, too, has it endured five different business structures and names in its first 25 years. For the first few years it was Doody Publishing, Inc., until our friends from Login Brothers invested in the company and we reorganized as MDLB, LLC (but still doing business as Doody Publishing). Then RoweCom, Inc, followed by divine interventures, purchased the stock of MDLB, LLC in 2001, and our publications were now positioned under the ownership of divine. When that company went bankrupt, we bought back the assets of our company and reorganized as Doody Enterprises, Inc. (DEI) in the middle of 2003. Then in late 2015 we spun off the 11-year-old Publishing Services Division of DEI into Doody Consulting, LLC.