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Thirty-five years ago, in the kitchen of a small apartment in Oakland, California, Marc Allen and Shakti Gawain started a publishing firm known as Whatever Publishing to put out a few books and booklets they had written. It was a shoestring operation, started with very little capital. Total sales in 1977 were $800.
Today New World Library owns its own spacious building in Novato, California, has seventeen employees, and had 2011 revenues in excess of $8.5 million. The company’s name changed in the mid-1980s to better reflect the quality of its developing list. One of its first books, Gawain’s Creative Visualization, became an international bestseller and has sold more than 3 million copies in English and been translated into more than thirty foreign editions.
In the early 1990s, Gawain and Allen dissolved their partnership and Allen became sole owner and publisher of New World Library and Gawain founded Nataraj Publishing. The two remained close friends and in 1998 they formed a new working partnership. Nataraj Publishing became an imprint published by New World Library.
Two other joint publishing ventures, Amber-Allen Publishing and H J Kramer have contributed heavily to New World Library’s success over the past two decade. Between late 1993 and 1995, six books and six spoken word audios were published under the Amber-Allen imprimatur. One of those books, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, has gone on to sell more than 3.0 million copies in English and has been translated into more than thirty foreign editions. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for over eighteen months.
In 2001, New World Library began working with The Joseph Campbell Foundation to introduce “The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell” series. By the end of 2012, there will be 13 books in this series, including a revised edition of The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which has sold over 110,000 copies since its reissue in 2008.
With an active backlist of nearly 450 titles, including over 30 spoken word audio titles, New World Library celebrates its 35th anniversary buoyed by the continuing success of Eckhart Tolle's, The Power of Now which has sold over 3.5 million copies in English and has benefited from continuous coverage by Oprah since 2000. New World Library has been distributed to the book trade by Publishers Group West since 1979 and is their oldest distribution client.
In order to give its books the care and treatment they deserve, New World Library publishes about 30-35 new titles annually. “That way our backlist gets the same attention as our frontlist,” says Allen. “We publish good books, and want to keep them in print as long as possible.” Nearly 70 percent of New World Library’s revenues are generated from its strong backlist, which includes books by Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Joanna Macy, Allen & Linda Anderson, Bernie Siegel, Echo Bodine, Mother Teresa, Richard Carlson, Alan Watts, Kent Nerburn, and, of course, Shakti Gawain.
While many of New World Library’s books are categorized as New Age, Marc Allen says “there’s really nothing new in New Age; it’s been around for a long time. It’s the perennial philosophy, after all. Certainly for many, though, a New Age is dawning. Perhaps it will prove to be a great New Renaissance, possibly even an era of cooperation and global peace. We certainly hope so, and are publishing material that can show us how to create far better lives for ourselves and a world that works.
New World Library publishes books and audios that inspire and challenge readers to improve the quality of their lives and our world. The ultimate goal of the company is a sweeping one: personal and planetary transformation — awakening both individual consciousness and global social potential by publishing inspirational and practical materials in spirituality, personal growth, and other related areas.
“The best thing about the business, as far as I’m concerned,” Allen says, “is the large amount of mail and email we’ve received, over the years, from people who have been deeply affected by our publications. All I need to know is that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life — that makes it all worthwhile.”
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