In the fall of 1983, Beyond Words Publishing was formed with the goal to produce the finest photographic coffee table books that had ever been published. We looked for photographers who had a singular passion for their subject matter and our first two books Molokai, An Island in Time and Within a Rainbowed Sea were printed in the summer of 1984. Both books received over 30 international awards including recognition as the finest photography books printed in the world. Our 40 th president, Ronald Reagan, even gave one as a gift to the Emperor of Japan in 1986.
Harry Hoffman, then president of Walden Books, gave us our first purchase orders for 10,000 books of each title a year for ten years. Our first partner, Robert Goodman, stayed with the company for a year and helped teach us about the challenges of publishing.
Over the next two years, we diligently marketed our titles, loading up our books driving through Oregon and California selling them out of the trunk of our car. The first store we went into bought four copies and gave us a check. We were so excited to be paid that we asked for checks for every sale thereafter.
After many weeks on the road, at a bookstore in southern California, Chuck Morrell a sales representative for St. Martin’s Press, saw our books and encouraged the rest of his team to sell our books across the country.
In 1987, we published our first children’s book and our first book in the personal growth genre. Over the next few years, our books were distributed by Publisher’s Group West, who encouraged us to publish more books in these two categories. So we did. In 1990 we published Dr. John Gray’s first book: Men, Women and Relationships. Dr. Gray went on to expand a chapter from this book into Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, published by HarperCollins.
In the early years we operated from an apartment in Honolulu and then in 1986, from our home in North Plains, Oregon. As the company grew, Beyond Words rented an office and warehouse in Hillsboro, Oregon. We continued to make children’s books and expanded our list in the Mind, Body, Spirit genre. We approached publishing as a labor of love without any preconceived ideas about what was or wasn’t possible.
In 2003, Beyond Words published The Hidden Messages in Water by Dr. Masuro Emoto, following up with a film of the same name. Photos from the book were also featured in the film What the Bleep Do We Know? This marked a turning point, as we became a media company, distributing both books and films worldwide. Not long afterwards, we had two New York Times Bestsellers, and in early 2006, Judith Curr of Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) invited Beyond Words to partner with her.
The first book that we brought to Atria was Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, which went on to sell tens of millions worldwide.Our intention as a company is to partner with authors and filmmakers to help produce and disseminate information that can help make a difference in people’s lives. One of our values is that collaboration is essential to create miracles. As we publish and distribute books and films at the convergence of science and spirituality, we aim to touch a billion lives for the betterment of the planet and humankind.