New Windsor publisher wins awards

CRAFTING EXCELLENCE

February 02, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

For the second straight year, Pat Depke Books, a division of Craft World in New Windsor, has won an award for one of its craft instruction publications.

"Arranging Flowers with Style" was judged an outstanding book in the category of floral, natural and ribbon books by Profitable Craft Merchandising magazine. The 24-page flower arrangement book was one of six books and six craft products recognized at the Hobby Industry of America trade show in Dallas last month.

Depke earned two awards in 1991, the contest's first year, for "The Basics of Dried Flower Crafting" and "Plastic Canvas Toddler Learning Toys."

Awards are based on content, cover, and graphics and marketing support.

"Now it's a tradition," said Herb Depke, publisher at Pat Depke Books. "We beat out some pretty big companies for this award."

Most craft book publishers release about 50 to 100 new titles a year, said Paula Stroud, editor at Depke. Depke publishes 15 to 24 new books each year.

"To have three of those recognized as outstanding is pretty cool," she said. "Considering how many books are published in the industry each year, we're very proud of that."

Pat Depke Books began in 1975 around the family kitchen table in Illinois, Mr. Depke said. His wife, who died of lung cancer in 1990, started with then-popular macrame project books.

Eventually, the company grew to include a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and in-house production of the 12 to 15 craft books they produced a year. The company became a division of Craft World and moved to New Windsor in 1982.

"It was a cooperative effort," Mr. Depke said of the merger. "Craft World was one of our major customers, and it just kind of happened."

The move was financially wise, he said. Now, the small division shares billing, photography and inventory departments with Craft World.

"It wouldn't be economically sound if we weren't sharing," he said.

The company is now expanding and expects to publish about 30 books this year, Mr. Depke said. An additional editor and a children's author have been hired recently to join the six-person staff that includes the publisher, an editor and two graphic artists.

The two graphic artists also help produce catalogs for Craft World.

However, Mr. Depke said he doesn't want the expansion to harm product quality.

"I don't want us to get away from the slow, methodical way we make books," he said. The key to Depke's success is dependable, accurate craft instructions, the publisher said.

Full-color photos and clear graphics are also important to the company.

"We edit and edit again to make sure there is consistent terminology, the instructions are simple, a minimum of words are used and they are complete," Mr. Depke said. "We leave nothing to chance. We don't assume anything. We assume that this is the first time anyone has done this type of project."

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