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Novel Opportunity

A big deal puts a small publisher on the map.

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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Robert James Waller walked into the Front Street Books store in Alpine, Texas, he was like any other customer--except he had penned The Bridges of Madison County. Owners Mike and Jean Hardy were acquainted with Waller, but nothing prepared them for his proposition: to publish the Bridges sequel, A Thousand Country Roads, through their other business, John M. Hardy Publishing Co.

Waller's publisher, Warner Books, was unwilling to print the sequel, presenting a chance of a lifetime for the Hardys, both 59. Plans to publish 25,000 copies drew interest after The Associated Press newswire announced the project. Soon, the Hardys had advance orders for 400,000 copies.

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