Wabash Alum Brings First Business to Commerce Park
by Jim Amidon
April 12, 2005
Crawfordsville Mayor John Zumer described the establishment of a new
City commerce park as a "leap of faith," and the securing of the first
tenant, Polyglot Press, as "a landmark step in the history of
Zumer introduced Polyglot Press and its president, Wabash alumnus David
Scott ’64, to City officials and the media at a press conference on
Tuesday. Scott is president of Polyglot, which is in the buisiness of
digital publishing and print-on-demand publishing. The firm can take a
title from start to finished book in as few as eight hours.
Scott conceived the idea of a publishing company that could quickly
produce small quantities of out-of-print and foreign language books
about five years ago and got his Philadelphia-based firm up and running
a year later. The firm now has over 2,000 titles in various stages of
production development and offers via its website approximately 200
titles at any given time.
Mayor Zumer's "leap of faith" in optioning 185 acres of land north of
Crawfordsville and getting City Council approval to purchase the first
tract of land for a modern commerce park represents a shift in economic
development, he said, and brings Crawfordsville into modern times.
"One question lingered," said Zumer. "Who would be our first tenant?"
Scott had shopped around his idea of bringing Polyglot to the state of
Indiana for the last year or so. In the process, he met with officials
in college and university towns throughout the state. "We hope to be up
and in business by the end of this month or early in May," he said.
Polyglot's Crawfordsville office will be temporarily housed on the
second floor of National City Bank on Washington Street in downtown
Crawfordsville. "We'll start out small and hope to add five to 10
employees per month, most of whom will be involved in editing and
proofing, as well as the retouching of graphics of the originally
published artwork," Scott said.
While Polyglot's focus is "ultra short-run" printing of out-of-print and
foreign language titles, Scott hopes to build the business of data
conversion, using optical character recognition software specifically
developed for Polyglot's Philadelphia operation. With libraries around
the world turning card catalogs into digital files and archiving older
titles in digital format, Scott sees a niche his firm can occupy.
Similarly, since Polyglot stores all of its titles digitally, users,
primarily college and university professors, can custom build books
based on topics, people, or eras. He cited Indiana State University's
rapidly expanding Arabic language program as a possible client.
Most recently, Scott worked to publish The Last Judgment and World
Religions, a book by Hall Peebles, professor of religion emeritus at
Wabash. The book compares "death, judgment, heaven, and hell" from
Eastern and Western religious perspectives.
Scott said he hopes that Wabash students and faculty will become
involved with Polyglot's Crawfordsville arm, seeing opportunities for
students to work on graphics, proofing, editing, and translation. While
most texts are electronically scanned with optical character recognition
software, much time and effort is spent making sure replication is true
to the original form.
Zumer is pleased to have the first tenant of the Crawfordsville Commerce
Park, but also sees an added benefit of Scott's connection to Wabash.
"Hopefully Wabash students in the future will see Polyglot as an option
for employment after their graduation."
Scott studied Spanish as a Wabash undergraduate. It was then that he
realized how few foreign language titles are available in this country.
He has been working with Gilberto Gomez, a Wabash Spanish professor, to
publish a number of Spanish language titles previously unavailable in
this country. Gomez has also worked to translate the titles into English.
Scott has also built partnerships with the Lew Wallace Study and Indiana
Historical Society. Polyglot is nearing the end of a project in which it
has published 13 books written by General Lew and Susan Wallace,
complete with original artwork, retouched beyond the quality of the
Scott's seven-year goal is to have published one million titles, a lofty
goal as he points out.
Crawfordsville's goal — to fill a modern commerce park with small
businesses, start-ups, and high-tech firms — is similarly lofty. But as
Zumer pointed out, "We have moved beyond the realm of fantasy to the
world of reality" by securing the first business.
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