A new division joins the Follett family: Follett Audiovisual Resources (FAR). FAR is the latest division of Follett and falls within the Library Market Group. Mr. Bill Frank will head the division as President.
Bill comes to the Follett Corporation from Professional Media Service Corp where he headed departments in customer service, customer relations, and sales & marketing. His prior experience includes music distribution & licensing as well as his time spent on the staff the University of Michigan and University of Southern California's library systems.
So what is FAR?
Bill explains, "FAR is an exciting blend of old and new. Old in the respect that FAR follows in the long established Follett tradition of providing information to our customers; new with respect to the products FAR offers: compact discs, videocassettes, audio books, DVD titles and other entertainment & cultural media. The various divisions have never had a wholly owned Follett source for non-print titles. FAR is changing all that."
As there continues to be a "hardware" explosion in the consumer market of VCRs, CD-ROM drives, audio CD players, and new transitional technologies such as DVD players, the accompanying demand for "software" such as videos, music CDs, audio books and multi-media formats will continue to gain prominence in the markets where print titles predominate. For example, video titles are already the highest circulating item in U.S. public libraries.
"FAR is both an intra-corporation service company and a direct sales entity. We are currently recruiting the very best candidates from the entertainment & educational product distribution industry as well as the markets we serve. In the last month alone, we have brought on board the past executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) as well as senior buyers from national music and video chains. We are incorporating a mix of proven professionals, motivated internal corporate transfers, and fresh recruits. We are locating to a 34,000 sq. ft. facility in Crystal Lake, Illinois in Chicago's northwest suburbs during December, 1998."
Plans call for FAR to begin servicing Follett Library Resources (FLR) and its school markets beginning April 1, 1999 and Book Wholesalers Inc. (BWI) and its public library markets beginning July 1, 1999. FAR is also serving public, academic and special libraries not served by other Follett divisions through its own direct sales initiative beginning July 1, 1999.
"Further, we are exploring the possible synergies created with the Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG) and their retail operations for future consideration. FHEG has had considerable ongoing success with entertainment products such as compact discs."
"We're implementing a slow but steady growth strategy. We seek to serve our customers well and build a reputation as a "must use" vendor. We are seeking a 10% total market share in the library markets in five years. Our primary focus will be that of our sister divisions' markets. We truly are designed to embody the message of inter-divisional cooperation imparted at this year's annual shareholders' meeting."