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The skinny on SlimBooks

Kellogg student challenges traditional publishing with innovative venture

10/25/2012 -
Life of a slimbook
Part-Time Kellogg student Casey Bankord and a business partner are hitting the bookshelves in an innovative way with the launch of their new publishing company, SlimBooks. Built on the premise that less is more, the company is hoping to revolutionize the way books are published, written and read by offering a series of “bite-sized, brilliant books that you can read in an hour or two. Nothing longer than 100 pages.”

Bankord says the idea for SlimBooks first came to him after attempting to write his own book. “We met with a publisher, pitched the idea, and we were excited about it,” he says. Although the publisher shared enthusiasm for the manuscript, Bankord was informed that the book needed to be a lot longer.

That’s when it hit him. “For some reason, many of us think a book needs to be 200, 250, 300 pages or more. Why, though?” Bankord wondered. Traditional publishers often sign writers to book deals with word minimums, regardless of how it affects the quality of the book.

While sitting in Professor Craig Garthwaite’s class on value creation at Kellogg, Bankord started to think deeply about the obstacles in the publishing industry that prevent books from being “the length that writers actually want to write, and the length that readers want to read.” 

A challenge to conventional publishing? 
Bankord soon met with Kellogg Professor Andrew Razeghi, who lectures on innovation and entrepreneurship and is a published author and entrepreneur himself. From there, SlimBooks began to move from concept to reality. Not only is Professor Razeghi now on the SlimBooks’ board of advisors, but he has published his first book, The Future of Innovation, via the new SlimBooks platform.

“Traditional book publishing takes 12 to 18 months from writing the book to its arrival on shelves, but this book was written and published within just a few weeks,” says Razeghi. “As an author, this was truly a liberating experience, especially for a book that focuses on innovation.”

Bankord hopes to publish “flights” of three to five new books every month, and envisions the SlimBooks format for subjects like business, health and self-help — or even for reviving the short story. SlimBooks are available for download for $4.95 through the company’s website, and select books — like The Future of Innovation — will also be available in print.

Razeghi also notes that SlimBooks idea is a prime example of Kellogg’s spirit of collaboration and innovation.

“SlimBooks is not just about changing the way we think about the format, pricing and distribution of books, it’s also about fundamentally changing the reading experience — creating books with only the good stuff, no fluff,” he says. “This is a big idea that has the potential to challenge the conventional book publishing model.”

Related: The Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice