Maverick Marijuana Publisher Hits Big
OAKLAND, Calif., March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — At a time when the publishing industry’s profits seem to be going up in smoke, one publisher’s business is smoking hot. Publisher and author Ed Rosenthal, founder and owner of Quick American Publishing in Piedmont, California, doesn’t have to worry about the fact that U.S. book sales have dropped rather than grown over the last decade, because Rosenthal has carved out a publishing niche that’s on fire.
Since its inception in 1984, Rosenthal’s Quick American Publishing has seen more than three decades of steady growth. 2010 book sales hit the million dollar mark, doubling from just two years prior. And the Ed Rosenthal Zero Tolerance garden products, sold under his umbrella company, Quick Trading Company, reports sales in 2010 tripling to $300,000 from $100,000 in 2009. Zero Tolerance Natural Garden Solutions include an herbal pesticide and fungicide that offer a safe way to control pests and diseases for any edible plants.
The success of Rosenthal’s businesses can be attributed to their single focus: marijuana. “More people are buying books about cannabis cultivation,” he says. “What makes Quick American an even more attractive proposition is that our backlist (list of a publisher’s earlier titles still in print) holds so steady. Our backlist sales decline more slowly than normal – just 10 to 15 percent. In addition, our returns are nominal, less than 8 percent compared to the publishing industry’s average 30 percent rate.”
With the advent of legalized medical marijuana, which has already been voted into law in 15 states and legislation currently pending in ten others, Rosenthal’s marijuana publishing empire hasn’t even begun to peak. Simply put, more legalized growing will mean more people looking for cultivation information on marijuana.
And now that digital devices are becoming better suited to illustrated books, Rosenthal noted that eBook sales, which represented less than 1 percent of the company’s volume last year, are already exceeding the publishing industry’s 10 percent average to date. Apple’s iBooks featured Ed Rosenthal’s Marijuana Grower’s Handbook (Quick American/2010) in the Lifestyle & Home category in February and March.
Rosenthal was involved with the creation of High Times Magazine in 1972 and his “Ask Ed?” marijuana advice columns continue to be syndicated globally. The more than one dozen books that he’s written and/or edited on marijuana have cumulatively sold more than two million copies. Recognized worldwide as a leading authority on marijuana and dubbed the Guru of Ganja(TM), Rosenthal has the distinction of having authored the only book about marijuana cultivation ever to be reviewed by the New York Times.
Ed’s lifelong efforts to reform marijuana laws extend way beyond publishing, and can be described as the driving force of Rosenthal’s life. He serves as executive director of Green Aid: The Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund. The non-profit organization was originally formed to support Rosenthal in 2003, when he was indicted and tried by the U.S. Attorney’s office for marijuana cultivation even though he had been deputized by the City of Oakland to grow marijuana for medical use. He was convicted, sentenced to a day and released for time served. Rosenthal appealed the conviction, arguing that the jurors had been denied evidence showing that his work was actually sanctioned by Oakland government officials. California’s 9th Circuit of Appeals ruled in his favor in 2006. Green Aid now supports others being prosecuted for implementing state medical marijuana laws. Although recent polls show that as many as 80 percent of Americans support safe access to medical marijuana, the federal government still does not recognize the legitimacy of the laws passed by individual states.
Judicial badgering has only encouraged Rosenthal, whose books on cultivation have always been part of a plan for DIY civilian activism. Rosenthal continues to advocate for the rights of marijuana users and growers through writing, publishing, speeches, seminars and direct activism. In addition, Rosenthal functions as an advisor to activists and legislators looking to write and to pass marijuana legislation.
Rosenthal, who also takes center stage – literally – as a standup comic, shares his cannabis-related passion on his blog. Entries range from growing tips and entreaties on behalf of individuals being tried for medical marijuana use to a campaign to help out overworked DEA agents by seeking out and destroying as much cannabis as possible. His plan of attack involves, in his words, a “‘portable hazardous waste incinerator,’ otherwise known as a pipe.”
That kind of irreverent humor coupled with unparalleled expertise has earned Rosenthal a dedicated following. Those fans are expected to turn out for a book signing at San Francisco’s Book Passage in the Ferry Building in celebration of 420* on 4/20. Rosenthal can also celebrate the fact that his new book, The Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, is already in its third printing just six months after its release and is the designated course book at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California. “This is literally a growing industry,” he says with a smile. He should know.
*420 — Coined in 1971 by teens in San Rafael, CA who met after school — at 4:20 p.m. — to smoke pot; 420 was then picked up by The Grateful Dead and others, and April 20 has since become a global celebration of cannabis.
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SOURCE Ed Rosenthal