Pelican Publishing Company enjoys national recognition as a medium-sized company with a backlist of over 2,500 titles and fifty to sixty new titles produced yearly. As a general trade publisher, Pelican is presently the largest independent trade book publisher in the South.
Pelican Publishing Company was established in 1926. Its history is tied to such names as William Faulkner, whose first trade publication was published by Pelican, and Stuart O. Landry, whose vision kept the company alive from 1926 to 1966. Several years before purchasing Pelican, Dr. and Mrs. Milburn Calhoun developed Bayou Books, a mail-order rare and out-of-print book business. When they moved to New Orleans, Bayou Books was opened as a retail bookstore. In order to meet the growing demand for out-of-print literature, Dr. and Mrs. Calhoun decided to purchase Pelican Publishing Company from Betty and Hodding Carter in 1970.
Pelican is a family-owned business. Dr. Calhoun directed Pelican’s growth and development in his dual role of president and publisher from 1970 until his death in 2012. After his passing, his daughter Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton, who has served as a board member for the Publisher’s Association of the South and on the small press steering committee for the Association of American Publishers, inherited those roles. She shares ownership of the company with her mother, Nancy Calhoun, who serves as treasurer and vice president of special promotions, and her uncle, James Calhoun, who served as executive editor until his retirement in 1990 and is now special projects editor.
With the translation and international distribution of many of its titles, Pelican has enlarged its growing market of foreign rights sales and purchases. Pelican’s motivational titles by Zig Ziglar (See You at the Top) and Dr. Walter Doyle Staples (Think Like a Winner!) led its entry into markets in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa. Additionally, Pelican continues its acquisition of foreign titles for U.S. publication. See You at the Top is a special title among Pelican’s list and enjoys the highest sales of any Pelican title. To celebrate the book’s 25th anniversary, a revised edition was published in 2000. Many of Pelican’s titles are available as CDs, MP3 downloads, or e-books, in addition to traditional paperback and hardcover editions. -Pelican Publishing Website
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