Bobit Publishing Company History
Torrance, California 90501
Telephone: (310) 533-2400
Fax: (310) 533-2500
Employees: 100 (est.)
Sales: Not available.
NAIC: 511120 Periodical Publishers; 511130 Book Publishers; 561920 Convention and Trade Show Organizers
Bobit Publishing Company's mission is to be a leading business-to-business media company that anticipates and meets customer needs with superior quality publications. We provide ancillary products and services, enabling our customers to attain maximum benefit from our industry knowledge. Quality is an important part of what Bobit Publishing Company does, whether it's a magazine, convention, or Web site. Embedded within the culture, every associate strives to make the best quality communication available. Bobit Publishing publications have won numerous Maggie Awards, a national acknowledgment for excellence in a publication. In addition, Eddy Awards are given out internally to publications that exhibit high editorial quality. Playfully named after our founder, Edward J. Bobit, the awards are presented annually to publications judged to be the best in a variety of categories.
- Edward J. Bobit establishes Bobit Publishing Company in Glenview, Illinois, and launches Automotive Fleet.
- The company acquires two more ground transportation publications, Metro and School Bus Fleet.
- Bobit Publishing relocates to Redondo Beach, California.
- Bobit begins publishing Security Sales.
- Bobit launches three publications: Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation, Mobile Electronics, and Nails.
- Bobit acquires Security Press.
- Bobit acquires three automotive publications from Bill Communications: Modern Tire Dealer, Auto Trim & Restyling, and Truck Accessory News.
- Bobit launches Bella, a magazine for skin care professionals and spa and salon owners.
Bobit Publishing Company is a privately-held publisher of more than 20 business-to-business periodicals. Its publications are organized into the following groups: Auto, Automotive Aftermarket, Ground Transportation, Protection, and Beauty. The Auto Group's periodicals and publications are aimed at owners of car rental businesses, fleet managers, and similar businesses. They include Auto Rental News, Automotive Fleet, Business Driver, Business Fleet, F&I Management & Technology, Fleet Association Directory, Fleet Financials, and Vehicle Remarketing. The Automotive Aftermarket's periodicals serve the needs of businesses engaged in auto trim and restyling, mobile electronics, tire dealers, and truck and sport-utility vehicle (SUV) servicing. The Ground Transportation Group consists of three periodicals: Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation, Metro, and School Bus Fleet. Bobit also publishes SBF Plus, a newsletter for school bus fleet owners. The Protection Group includes Police, a magazine for law enforcement personnel, and Security Sales & Integration for security system installers and integrators. The Beauty Group includes Nails, a periodical for nail salons and technicians, and Bella for skin care professionals. Bobit also publishes Death Row, an annual reference book on capital punishment, and books on the security industry. Many of the company's periodicals are available online and have their own Web sites. Bobit also produces related e-newsletters for its target audiences and sponsors nearly ten annual transportation-related trade shows.
Bobit Publishing Company was founded by Edward J. Bobit in 1961 in Glenview, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The company's first publication was Automotive Fleet, a magazine providing information to owners and operators of corporate fleets. Edward Bobit, a native of Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University in 1945 after serving two years in the U.S. Navy. After working for Dow Chemical Co., he took a position as sales manager at McGraw-Hill Inc., where he became interested in publishing. He worked for seven years at McGraw-Hill before launching Bobit Publishing Co.
In 1964, the company acquired two additional publications, Metro and School Bus Fleet, to strengthen its position in the transportation market. First published in 1904, Metro was devoted to surface public transportation and covered topics such as transit system operations, financing, motorcoach equipment and operations, urban transportation policies, and major system construction and rehabilitation of older transit systems. School Bus Fleet served the needs of school transportation professionals. It covered the management and maintenance of school bus fleets operated by public school districts, private schools, and other agencies and child care centers. Its audience included public operators as well as contract service providers.
1970s-80s: Relocation and Expansion
Bobit relocated in 1977 from the cold climate of Chicago to warmer weather in southern California, where it established an office in Redondo Beach. In 1979, the company launched Security Sales, a periodical serving the interests of security and alarm system installers and integrators. Another Bobit publication, Police Product News, began publication in 1976. The title was subsequently changed to Police.
During the 1980s, Bobit began producing trade shows as a way of providing the readers of its various periodicals with information on new products and services. Among the first trade shows produced by Bobit in the 1980s were the Limousine and Chauffeured Transportation Show and a trade show on mobile electronics. These shows addressed the audiences of two publications that Bobit launched in 1983, Limousine and Chauffeur and Mobile Electronics Retailer.
Limousine and Chauffeur, which was renamed Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation in 1999, served the information needs of the limousine service industry with a circulation of about 10,000. Mobile Electronics Retailer reached automotive aftermarket electronics dealers with a controlled circulation of nearly 23,000. In 1999, the title was changed to Mobile Electronics. In 1983, Bobit also launched Nails, a magazine for nail technicians and salon owners with a controlled circulation of 50,000.
Later in the decade, Bobit expanded its presence among auto rental companies with the introduction in 1988 of Auto Rental News, a bi-monthly with a controlled circulation of 17,000. The company also began publishing Fleet Financials three times a year to provide additional data to fleet owners.
Periodical Web Sites and Electronic Newsletters: 1990s
Bobit continued to enhance its communications with its target audiences in the 1990s by launching Web sites for most of its periodicals. It also began publishing e-mail newsletters that complemented its print publications. By the end of the decade, Bobit was producing about 15 e-mail newsletters for readers of publications such as Automotive Fleet, Auto Rental News, Business Fleet, Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation, Metro, and Nails.
In the early 1990s, Bobit became involved with the publication of Death Row, a comprehensive reference book on capital punishment. The publication was the result of Bobit family member Bonnie Bobit's interest in the subject. After graduating from Arizona State University, she took on a part-time position as editor of the book, which was first published in 1989. She soon became its full-time editor and associate publisher and began hosting a weekly radio show called "Live from Death Row," which was broadcast on COPNET Radio. She also contributed a monthly column to Crime Magazine and has reported on capital punishment for BBC Radio One.
Bobit Publishing continued to produce new trade shows during the 1990s. In 1996, it launched the Conference of Automotive Remarketers (CAR). Aimed at the entire pre-owned vehicle market, CAR attracted businesses and individuals involved in vehicle remarketing, vehicle manufacturing, automotive financing, auto auctions, resale dealers, and remarketing suppliers.
By the mid-1990s, Bobit was publishing 15 business-to-business periodicals. Its top titles included Metro Magazine, with a circulation of 17,500, for public transit and charter bus owners and operators; Security Sales, with a circulation of 23,500, for security alarm businesses; and Auto Rental News, with a circulation of 16,000, for the car and truck rental industry.
1999 and Beyond
Bobit expanded its presence among security and alarm dealers and installers with the purchase of Security Press in mid-1999. Based in Lake Placid, New York, Security Press published reference and educational materials on sales and marketing management for security and alarm dealers.
In January 2000, Bobit launched a new periodical, Business Fleet. The quarterly began with a controlled circulation of 100,000 industry executives. The magazine was targeted at the commercial small fleet market, which included fleets of between 10 and 50 vehicles. Bobit felt this was a growing market that advertisers, including vehicle lessors and manufacturers' dealers, would be interested in reaching. The magazine also provided valuable information in its editorial content, which covered topics such as factory and dealer programs, funding opportunities, fuel management, driver safety, and similar subjects.
Later in the year Bobit acquired three automotive publications from Bill Communications, a unit of media giant VNU-USA Inc. The acquisition included Modern Tire Dealer, an Akron, Ohio-based publication that was first published in 1919. Two other periodicals were also included in the acquisition: Auto Trim & Restyling News, a monthly publication first published in the early 1950s that Bill Communications acquired from Shore-Varrone, Inc., and Truck Accessory News, a bi-monthly spin-off from Auto Trim & Restyling News that began publication in 1994. Truck Accessory News was subsequently renamed Truck & SUV Performance. The acquisition gave Bobit a total of 20 business-to-business periodicals.
In mid-2002, Bobit launched a new magazine for skin care professionals and spa and salon owners. Titled Bella, the new bi-monthly began with a controlled circulation of 27,000. It combined advertising for new products with relevant editorial content. Among the topics covered in the magazine were retail developments, new products, and discoveries and technical advances in skin care.
As part of its trade show and exposition business, Bobit also provided management services to national associations. In February 2002, Bobit was selected by the National Limousine Association to provide management services to its membership. According to Bobit's Web site, the company's trade show business was its fastest-growing business segment.
With more than 20 business-to-business periodicals, Bobit Publishing occupies a well-established niche among business-to-business publishers. Over the years it has cultivated its audience by providing them with a variety of information sources about their businesses, including trade shows, expositions, Web sites, and e-mail newsletters. The privately-held company remains a family-owned business with Edward Bobit as its chairman and CEO. A new generation of Bobits working at the company are being groomed to lead the company in the future.
Principal Competitors: Chilton Co.; Hearst Business Publishing; Randall Publishing Co.; Shore-Varrone, Inc.; Vance Publishing Corp.
- "Bill Comm. Sells Automotive Group to Bobit Publishing," Business Publisher, April 17, 2000, p. 4.
- "Bobit Publishing Acquires Bill Communications Automotive Group," Write News, April 14, 2000.
- "Bobit Publishing Launches Mag for Salon and Spa Professionals," Business Publisher, June 17, 2002, p. 3.
- "Bobit to Launch 'Business Fleet' Magazine in January," Business Publisher, November 17, 1999, p. 3.
- Hochwald, Lambeth, "Cloudy with Bursts of Creativity," Folio, March 1, 1996, p. 35.
- "Security Press Sold to Bobit Publishing Co.," Business Publisher, July 31, 1999, p. 5.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 55. St. James Press, 2003.