Jenkins, Bright Bridge offer new online option for small publishers

TRAVERSE CITY – There was a time in the not-too-distance past that you didn't have to pay a whole lot to get a web site up and running. All it took was a friend with just a smidgen of Internet design savvy and a little free time, and a dot-com address could be yours for less money than most spend during a weekend trip to the grocery store.

"Now most professionals work five to six days, charging $40 an hour to get a client's web site up and running," says Jim Kalajian, president and COO of the Jenkins Group.

Kalajian's industry-custom publishing-is one where, literally, everybody not only has a story to tell but is also looking for the fastest, easiest, and least-expensive way to promote it in book form.

Says Kalajian, roughly half of the Jenkins Group business revolves around providing high-quality custom book publishing for average individuals-people who have a great idea and the motivation to write a book but who aren't interested in splitting the profits with a professional publisher. After guiding customers through every part of the publishing process-from layout to book binding-a typical Jenkins Group client ends up with two to three thousand books dropped on their doorstep.

Now for the tough part…marketing.

"You can certainly build your own (web site) to sell your books, but this takes expertise and time. Plus, people want their own identity," says Kalajian, pointing out that while there are step-by-step online services that allow you to cobble together a web site (powered, for instance, through Google and Yahoo) any web site a person creates is then attached to that provider's domain.

By teaming with enterprise-class, local web site design company, BrightBridge Studios (, Jenkins Group now offers customers the ability to easily launch a high quality, easy-to-navigate web site that's totally their own.

"Bright Bridge had already been working on the technology, which allowed us to launch this service fairly quickly," says Kalajian. "Dealing with technical issues is not what we do, so they also provide all the technical support."

For $495, plus $140 per year, customers can immediately begin uploading images, text, and sell copy. An online tutorial guides even the most Internet-unsavvy user quickly through setting up a PayPal account so they can immediately begin selling books online.

BrightBridge's web-based template makes it as easy as filling out a form. There's no limit on the number of pages you can add to your site-personal biography, current news, book reviews, and links to other web sites. Plus, changes to copy, new images, and audience updates can be added by the author at any time of the day or night and at no additional charge.

While helping Jenkins Group customers was the impetus for the project, Kalajian says the new service is targeted at the tens of thousands of small publishers in America.

"Every one of them needs a web site," he says.

To check out sample "Yourpubsite" webpages, see