Courier Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, (“Courier,” the “Company,” “We,” “Our,” or “Us”) is among America’s leading book manufacturers and specialty publishers. Courier Corporation, founded in 1824, was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts on June 30, 1972. The Company has two business segments: book manufacturing and specialty publishing.
The book manufacturing segment focuses on streamlining the process of bringing books from the point of creation to the point of use. Based on sales, Courier is the third largest book manufacturer in the United States, offering services from prepress and production through storage and distribution. Courier’s principal book manufacturing markets are religious, educational and specialty trade books with products including Bibles, educational textbooks and consumer books. On October 17, 2005, the Company acquired Moore-Langen Printing Company, Inc. (“Moore Langen”), an Indiana-based printer specializing in manufacturing book covers, which is included in this segment. Revenues from this segment accounted for approximately 85% of Courier’s consolidated revenues in fiscal 2009.
The specialty publishing segment consists of Dover Publications, Inc. (“Dover”), Research & Education Association, Inc. (“REA”), which was acquired on January 6, 2004, and Federal Marketing Corporation, d/b/a Creative Homeowner (“Creative Homeowner”), which was acquired on April 28, 2006. Dover publishes over 9,000 titles in more than 30 specialty categories ranging from literature to paper dolls, and from music scores to clip art. REA publishes test preparation and study guide books for high school, college and graduate students, and professionals. Creative Homeowner is a New Jersey-based publisher of books on home design, decorating, landscaping and gardening, and sells home plans. Revenues in this segment were approximately 19% of consolidated sales in fiscal 2009.
The combination of Dover’s, REA’s, and Creative Homeowner’s publishing, sales and distribution skills with Courier’s book manufacturing, digital content conversion, and e-commerce skills are providing a comprehensive end-to-end publishing solution for Courier.
Additional segment information, including the amounts of operating income and total assets, for each of the last three fiscal years, is contained in Note I in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements on pages F-21 to F-22 included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
BOOK MANUFACTURING SEGMENT
Courier’s book manufacturing segment produces hard and softcover books, as well as related services involved in managing the process of creating and distributing these products for publishers, religious organizations and other information providers. Courier provides book manufacturing and related services from six facilities in Westford, Stoughton and North Chelmsford, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Kendallville and Terre Haute, Indiana.
In the second quarter of fiscal 2009, the Company closed its Book-mart Press manufacturing facility in order to reduce redundant capacity and to lower costs. The Book-mart Press facility, located in North Bergen, New Jersey, was dedicated to short-run, single-color production. The Company consolidated the Book-mart Press operations into its other manufacturing facilities.
Courier’s book manufacturing operations consist of both electronic and conventional film processing and platemaking combined with printing and binding of soft and hard cover books. Each of Courier’s six facilities have certain specialties adapted to the needs of the market niches Courier serves, such as short-run book manufacturing, printing on lightweight paper, book cover production, and four-color book manufacturing. These services are primarily sold to publishers of educational, religious and consumer books. Since 2004, the Company has expanded its four-color book manufacturing capabilities with the addition of three new four-color presses at its Kendallville, Indiana facility. The Company is currently investing in state-of-the-art digital printing through a relationship with HP and plans to offer its customers a digital print option in the latter half of 2010.
During fiscal 2009, the Company was awarded Chain-of-Custody certification by two leading environmental organizations, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC). This new dual certification complements Courier’s existing certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and marks the Company as “triple-certified” for its systematic adherence to environmentally responsible practices in the use of paper and other forest products throughout its manufacturing locations.
Courier’s book manufacturing sales force of 25 people is responsible for all of the Company’s sales to over 500 book-manufacturing customers. Courier’s salespeople operate out of sales offices located in New York, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Terre Haute, Indiana; North Chelmsford and Westford, Massachusetts.
Sales to The Gideons International aggregated approximately 22% of consolidated sales in 2009 and 2008, and 20% in 2007. Sales to Pearson plc aggregated approximately 22% of consolidated sales in 2009, 17% in 2008 and 16% in 2007. With the acquisition of Harcourt by Houghton Mifflin Company in December 2007, sales to the combined entity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, aggregated approximately 11% in 2008 but were less than 10% in 2009 as well as in years prior to 2008 for each of the separate entities. A significant reduction in order volumes or price levels from any of these customers could have a material adverse effect on the Company. No other customer accounted for more than 10% of consolidated sales. The Company distributes products around the world; export sales, as a percentage of consolidated sales, were approximately 19% in 2009, 18% in 2008, and 16% in 2007. Approximately 90% of the export sales were in the book manufacturing segment in each of these years.
All phases of Courier’s business are highly competitive. The printing industry, exclusive of newspapers, includes over 35,000 companies. While most of these companies are relatively small, several of the Company’s competitors are considerably larger or are affiliated with companies that are considerably larger and have greater financial resources than Courier. In recent years, consolidation of both customers and competitors within the Company’s markets has increased pricing pressures. The major competitive factors in Courier’s book manufacturing business in addition to price are product quality, speed of delivery, customer service, availability of appropriate printing capacity and paper, related services and technology support.
SPECIALTY PUBLISHING SEGMENT
Dover, acquired by the Company in September 2000, is a publisher of books in over 30 specialty categories, including fine and commercial arts, children’s books, crafts, music scores, graphic design, mathematics, physics and other areas of science, puzzles, games, social science, stationery items, and classics of literature for both juvenile and adult markets, including the Dover Thrift Editionsä. In 2005, Dover began developing proprietary packaged products under its Dover Fun Kitsä line. In 2008, Dover introduced a new crafts line, Dover DesignWorksä, and a new premium series of hardcover reproductions, Dover Calla Editionsä. Towards the end of 2009, Dover launched the first 15 titles in a new series of Sesame Street Activity Books.
Dover sells its products through most American bookstore chains, independent booksellers, children’s stores, craft stores and gift shops, as well as a diverse range of distributors around the world. Dover has also sold its books directly to consumers for over 50 years through its specialty catalogs and over the Internet at www.doverpublications.com. Dover mails its proprietary catalogs to nearly 350,000 consumers and annually sends over 100 million emails to electing customers. Dover also maintains www.DoverDirect.com, which is a business-to-business site for its retailers and distributors.
In the second quarter of fiscal 2009, due to a decline in sales and profits at Dover resulting from the continued downturn in the economic environment and in consumer spending, the Company recorded a non-cash, pre-tax impairment charge of $15.6 million, which represented 100% of Dover’s goodwill.
REA, acquired by the Company in January 2004, publishes more than 900 test preparation and study guide titles. Product lines include Problem Solvers®, Essentials®, Super Reviews® and Test Preparation books. REA sells its products around the world through major bookseller chains, college bookstores, and teachers’ supply stores, as well as directly to teachers and other consumers through catalogs and over the Internet at www.REA.com.
Creative Homeowner, acquired by the Company in April 2006, is a New Jersey-based publisher and distributor of books, home plans, and related products for the home and garden retail book market. The Company purchased 100% of the stock of Creative Homeowner in a $37 million cash transaction. The acquisition was accounted for as a purchase and accordingly, Creative Homeowner’s financial results were included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements from the date of acquisition. Creative Homeowner’s 160 titles include books on home decoration, design and improvement, gardening and landscaping, and home arts. Its products are sold primarily through home and garden centers, as well as bookstores and direct to consumers over the Internet at www.creativehomeowner.com. From its line of home plan books, Creative Homeowner offers over 10,000 home plans from which consumers can order blueprints directly over the Internet at www.ultimatehomeplans.com.
In the third quarter of fiscal 2008, Creative Homeowner experienced a precipitous decline in sales and profits, due in large part to the continued downtown in the housing market and reduction in store traffic at home improvement centers and other large retail chain stores. As a result, the Company recorded a non-cash, pre-tax impairment charge of $23.6 million in fiscal 2008. In addition to other remedial measures, the Company decided to cease Creative Homeowner’s book distribution operation that served a single customer, allowing it to concentrate on its principal publishing operations. This transition was completed in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.
As part of Courier’s company-wide green initiative, Dover, REA and Creative Homeowner launched a new line of books in 2008 under a new mark owned by Courier, Green Editionä. In order to be eligible to bear the mark, books must not only be manufactured from recycled paper but also be manufactured in the United States. As a result, books that carry this mark have a smaller environmental impact than most books. The mark is being licensed to other publishing customers who have also expressed a desire to use it.
The U.S. publishing market is comprised of approximately 75,000 publishers. Many of these publishers are very small, but a few are much larger than Dover, REA, or Creative Homeowner, or are part of organizations that are much larger. In addition, newer sources of competition have emerged with large retailers launching or expanding publishing operations and new web-based publishing businesses starting up, which compete in the specialty book publishing market, including publishing of electronic books. Dover distinguishes its products by offering an extremely wide variety of high quality books at modest prices. REA offers high quality study guides, test preparation books and software products in almost every academic area including many specialized areas such as teacher certification, adult education, and professional licensing. Creative
Homeowner provides books on home improvement and landscaping that include high-quality photographs, illustrations and written content.
MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Courier purchases its principal raw materials, primarily paper, but also plate materials, ink, adhesives, cover stock, casebinding materials and cartons, from numerous suppliers, and is not dependent upon any one source for its requirements. Many of Courier’s book manufacturing customers purchase their own paper and furnish it at no charge to Courier for book production. Dover, REA and Creative Homeowner purchase a significant portion of their books from Courier’s book manufacturing operations. There were no significant changes in paper prices in the last three years.
Courier’s overall business is not significantly seasonal in nature, although demand is normally highest in the Company’s fourth quarter. Educational publishers in the book manufacturing segment and Dover’s business all contribute to this higher fourth quarter demand. There is no portion of Courier’s business subject to cancellation of government contracts or renegotiation of profits.
Courier does not hold any material patents, licenses, franchises or concessions upon which our operations are dependent, but does have trademarks, service marks, and Universal Resource Locators (URL’s) on the Internet in connection with each of its business segments. Substantially all of REA’s and Creative Homeowner’s publications and a majority of Dover’s publications are protected by copyright, either in its own name, in the name of the author of the work, or in the name of a predecessor publisher from whom rights were acquired. Many of Dover’s publications include material that is in the public domain.