Syndicates: Tom Thornton Will Leave Stamp on Amp

By Astor, Dave | Editor & Publisher, March 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Syndicates: Tom Thornton Will Leave Stamp on Amp


Astor, Dave, Editor & Publisher


When newspaper features spawn books, most readers think of three not-so-little words: Andrews McMeel Publishing. And when AMP President/CEO Tom Thornton retires at the end of 2005, he'll think of three decades of not-so-little growth for the company he headed.

Thornton began working for AMP soon after joining its sister company, Universal Press Syndicate, as assistant to the editor in 1972. Over the next few years, the 1973-launched AMP was lucky if it did $1-2 million in annual sales. But today, the company pulls in more than $100 million in annual sales and publishes as many as 300 new titles each year.

Among the reasons for this growth: AMP expanded to offer calendars as well as books, and formed two separate sales units -- one to place its products in bookstores and the other to sell to gift shops, Wal-Mart, Target, and other retail outlets. AMP also began publishing books and calendars based on comics from various syndicates (not just Universal). And much of its business ended up coming from properties with little or no newspaper pedigree -- including Harry Potter calendars and Mary Engelbreit books and calendars.

Syndication-spawned products "are a solid part of our sales, but not the majority," said Thornton, 54, who became AMP's president in 1987.

Yet the company is perhaps best known for publishing "The Far Side" books and calendars by Gary Larson that turbo-charged AMP's growth in the 1980s and '90s. More than 40 million "Far Side" comic collections have been sold since the first came out in 1982 with a modest initial printing of 7,500 copies.

"He's a great cartoonist, a wonderful man, and a good friend," Thornton said of Larson.

"The Far Side" creator returned the compliment: "Tom is just plain smart, calm in a crisis, and up to his eyeballs in integrity," he told E&P. "That, to me, as someone on the creative end of things, is the Holy Grail in a publisher."

Why is Thornton leaving at a relatively young age? "The company is in great shape," he said. "Otherwise, I would not be retiring." And Thornton -- who'll continue as an advisor/consultant for AMP and board member for AMP's Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU) parent -- wants to spend two or three months a year in New Zealand (where he and his wife have family), do more volunteer work in the Kansas City area (where he and AMU are based), and spend more time with his children and grandchildren.

Also fueling AMP's growth were Bill Watterson's "Calvin & Hobbes" books, which have sold more than 30 million copies since the first collection was published in 1986.

Watterson and Larson both retired from creating their Universal comics in the mid-1990s, but their books still sell. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Syndicates: Tom Thornton Will Leave Stamp on Amp
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.