"Remember 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,' when they're on the cliff and getting ready to jump and one guy says, 'I can't swim?'" asks the folksy 72-year-old, referring to the classic Robert Redford-Paul Newman film. "And the other guy says, 'What are you worried about? The fall's going to kill you.'"
That was essentially the situation White found himself in, watching helplessly as EDC's revenues were steadily eaten away by competition from world's most successful, and most aggressive, online retailer. "We were selling more to Amazon but our business kept declining," he says, describing a dip of some 40% in one division alone. "I'm thinking, 'What can I do here? This is crazy.' You had to fix it, or you're going to die anyway."
With no real choice, White took the leap in 2012, becoming one of the only publishers in the country to spurn the "everything store." Distributors who resell books to Amazon, including Ingram and Baker & Taylor, also soon found their supplies of books like "The Gas We Pass" and "Sticker Dolly Dressing Dream Jobs" cut off. For good measure, EDC also ditched other big-box discount stores, including Sam's Club, Costco, and Target.