Education: Tailor-Made Textbooks

When Marc Strausberg was an eager young salesman for Allyn & Bacon, he found that the college professors he called on were never quite satisfied with the textbooks they ordered for their courses. "They all wanted a little more of this part in the book or a little less of another," Strausberg recalls. His solution: "Why couldn't I offer to collect only those materials the professor wanted, get permission to use them and publish a custom-made book?"

Strausberg recruited his father, a retired printer, for the project. With $5,000 borrowed from an uncle, they leased an Itek platemaker that could produce low-cost...

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