A Passion Becomes Real

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When my father was about nine or ten years old, a teacher in his little school in Dermott, Arkansas, suggested that he read a book written by Stephen W. Meader. He devoured it and went back to the school library for more. He then found five or six and read them all.

Stephen Meader’s books formed the basis of his early passion for literature that remained his entire life. Through the years he often thought of those books, but it was his grandson turning ten that prompted him to begin looking for Meader’s books to share with him. He went to the Internet and discovered a huge cult following of Stephen Meader’s works. He also discovered that a good copy would cost several hundred dollars and to acquire a copy in excellent condition could run as high as $l,000.

His search for Meader books brought him into contacts which eventually led to him meeting John Meader, the author’s son. He spent the day with John and his wife, Joan, in their home in New Jersey learning some of Stephen’s life and the influence his books had had on the lives of so many young people. He had seen through the Internet that, though his books had long been out-of-print, his books still had a strong following. An idea began to form that eventually led to discussions and negotiations with the Meader family to acquire the rights to the forty-four published Meader books and to the two unpublished manuscripts Meader left at his death in 1977.

Because of its rarity, He selected T-Model Tommy as the first book to publish. This was done by actually photographing each page to retain its authenticity. The reaction was immediate and overwhelming. E-mails and letters poured in requesting favorite books. Unfortunately, this method of reproduction was very expensive and required warehousing of thousands of copies. Technology came to the rescue in 2004 and we were able to add ten new titles to our collection before the end of the year. We have since added another thirty-three titles, and our library of Meader books now totals forty-four, all of the original titles that Meader published in his lifetime.

My father’s entrepreneurial spirit was influenced by Meader’s books, including the drive and ambition to begin a little publishing company.

He dedicated the first book, T-Model Tommy, to his grandson, who was the catalyst for it all. Now fans from years past can rekindle their warm memories of reading his books and share these inspiring and adventuresome tales with their grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

I lost a tremendous man when my father, Jerry Atchley, died in 2010. I am honored and blessed to have been able to take the reins of this labor of love with work that is deeply meaningful to me.

Jennifer Atchley Cochran

Southern Skies

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2 responses to “A Passion Becomes Real

  1. karaybrooke

    I am intrigued by ‘photographing’ of each page in order to re-publish the book. Was this done originally with analog photography?

  2. Great question! I wish I could give you a definitive answer. I *think* that this was the case. At that time I was uninvolved with the details of the business and printing set-up; however, I do know that this tedious (and expensive) process occurred only with the T-Model Tommy title. After that, a much simpler printing process was found for the rest of the titles…I’m assuming because it could then be done digitally. Anyone else have any knowledge about this process?

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