The Kable family established Kable Printing Company in the late 1800’s in the rural
Illinois community of Mount Morris. The company quickly earned a reputation as an
efficient printer of mass-market magazines, and thrived. Throughout the turn of
the century and into the beginning of the Great Depression, Kable Printing continued
to do well. It did so well, in fact, it looked to expand its operation.
Harry Kable, then President of Kable Printing Company (or Kable Industries as it renamed itself), decided to enter the world of magazine distribution for some of the publications his company was printing. It was, to say the least, an opportune time to enter the foray; independent distribution was just beginning to come into its own as a forum for single copy sales. Hearst had just entered the field two years before (with ICD), and another company, Independent News (now Warner Publisher Services), was also looming on the horizon. On April 30, 1932, Harry Kable successfully started a new division of Kable Industries, Kable News Company. The fledgling outfit had just one client, Hugo Gernsback’s “Radio-Craft”. The first month’s billing amounted to a grand total of $12,364.93. Not much, but it was a start. (“Radio-Craft” was subsequently renamed “Radio-Electronics”, a title that is presently distributed by Kable News Company.)
The new division apparently filled a need in the growing magazine field. More and more publishers joined the Kable family in that first year. At the end of twelve months in business, Kable News Company had billed almost three-quarters of a million dollars. Five years later, the company’s billing climbed to over six million dollars. (Today, our newsstand clients generate over $700 million in annual retail sales.)
Kable Industries quickly moved to expand it operations even further. It started another division, an advertising and promotion service for magazine publishers, called Kable-Colcord, Inc. Meanwhile, Kable News Company expanded its distribution operation into other fields, such as the distribution and sale of golf balls, cigarette filters, razor blades, bridge score cards, and distribution forms (for ID wholesalers). Kable News headquartered itself in the Mount Morris College Administration Building in the center of town.
In 1957, Kable celebrated its 25th anniversary. The company had fully recovered from the comic book disaster and by the 1960’s, the company had settled into a position of one of the leading national magazine distributors in the industry. Expansion slowed but did not stop.
In 1969 AMREP Corporation acquired Kable News Company. AMREP was committed to the distribution business from the beginning. And with its substantial financial support, Kable grew dramatically during the first years after the acquisition.