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Cover Image of Monstruary by Julian Rios, Edith Grossman published by Alfred A. Knopf
Cover Image of The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories No. 3) by Carolyn Keene published by Grosset & Dunlap
Cover Image of The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes published by Simon & Schuster
 
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Now Hear This: Print is Not Dead-Long Live Print (Publisher News)

I am a subscriber to The Columbia Journalism Review whose features capture the latest thinking on all things pertaining to the medium and the profession. Like you I am a reader of books, and a subscriber to newspapers. Like you, I've been saving the planet by ticking the "electronic version only" to my subscriptions to save the world from destroying oxygen breathing trees and burning carbon fossils on delivery of my subscription.

But more and more I've become nostalgic for the rituals of home delivery of print copies of these items where I can make--an occasion--of sitting back in a comfortable chair with the newspaper and enjoy the page layouts, the smell of the ink and paper, the fact that advertisements are not popping up in my face (on my electronic screen), and tracking which articles I click, and feeding me information in silos of like-topics such that I am no longer served a diversity of features in the way that a well managed print publication provides.

The breakdown between the fourth estate and its public is fewer print subscribers which means fewer advertisers which mean fewer quality staff which means poorer quality journalism and consequentially publications going into the red and off the map.

In the publishing industry people have been predicting the return of book, and why not? Just yesterday I wanted to "lend" my copy of a book to a friend and I couldn't--it's on my iPad in digital format. And this is but one of the joys of physical book ownership that has been lost. Think of the state of your physical library, as in, those colourful and dusty shelves with copies of books you've had since the Gutenberg Press.

All the books on my shelves are from what seems like "another era" because I have added few new titles that reflect any update in my reading habits reflecting new topics of interest. But my kindle shelves show neat little rows of book "covers" backlit in colourful pixels illuminating on my screen and floating in the cloud. No help to anyone in my household or on my trusted lending list. (the ones who return books)

So here now is a more erudite rant on the subject from Michael Rosenwald of The CJR.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Talon Books: Discover This Amazing Vancouver Publisher (Publisher News)

Finding great publishers through one of their front-listed books is a great way to discover other worthwhile writers of other great books. It doesn't come about by luck or coincidence. It takes as much talent to recognize and shape writers as it does to be one. Talon Books is one of those publishers whose books have made a difference to the face of Can Lit. And we love their story. We can't tell it any better than them - so here instead, is a rip on their About Us page:

Mandate To publish work of the highest literary merit by world class authors from the mainstream and the margins of Canada’s three founding nations, as well as from both visible and invisible minorities within Canada’s cultural mosaic, and to work with all of our authors to build their national and international literary careers throughout their active writing lives.

Principal Accomplishments We have more than 500 titles in print, which have received well over 300 awards. We have built and continue to keep in print one of the finest and most diverse literary lists in Canada.

Role in Canadian Publishing Talon’s dedication to the publication of over four decades of excellent Canadian literary work, created through an unbroken line of internal mentorship and succession of ownership in the company, has earned our publishing house the privilege of being one of the pre-eminent independent Anglophone literary presses in Canada. We are the only one of the pioneering “first generation” of Canadian literary publishers of the 1960s to have consistently maintained our success and independence over the past 45 years. We are Canada’s largest independent publisher of drama; do more translations from Québec than anyone else; and publish more Native voices than any other Canadian publisher with the exception of First Nations publisher Theytus Books.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Chelsea Green: Publishing Books On Sustainability (Publisher News)

I've just discovered the most amazing publisher of books entirely devoted to diverse topics on sustainability. I want to order a dozen books immediately! Meet Chelsea Green Publishing. Founded in 1984 in Vermont, it has emerged as the go-to source for people with a serious interest in organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and more. They have over 350 titles in print and digital download. A scan of their new releases brings up an intriguing list of titles: The Biointegrated Farm, The Art of Leading Collectively, Make Mead like a Viking, The Book of Pears, The New Livestock Farmer, Beyond the War on Invasive Species, Trees for Gardens, Orchards and Permaculture, Start Your Own Wood, The Local Economy Solution, Will Bonsai's Essential Guide to Radical Self-Reliant Gardening, Thinking for Social Change, The Lean Farm, Two Percent Solutions for Understanding Roots, The PawPaw, The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America, and so on...

I came upon Chelsea Greens's website when looking to book a local cheesemaker, David Asher for a cheese making workshop. His book The Art of Natural Cheesemaking/a> is published by this Vermont-based business despite David Asher being located on a small island in the gulf on the west coast of British Columbia. Saltspring, home of the delicious producer of Saltspring goat cheese, is just a short ferry ride from Vancouver. People say the salt sprayed forage browsed by local sheep populations make the meat particularly tastey - we love the soft mild cheese they produce at the creamery with varieties topped in wildflower petals, peppercorns or roasted garlic! What I like about his book and the Chelsea Green style of publishing is that they are totally in sync with today's modern thinking farmers, ecologists, hobbyists and policy makers.

In 2012 Chelsea Green became employee owned with 78% of the staff owning the company's private stock. They also rely upon customers for marketing of products through social media and offer new subscribers discounts on books for posting reviews and links on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus networks. A great way to instantly reward customers and spread their philosophy of reaping benefits from our own educations on topics of sustainability.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Chelsea Green: Your One-stop Publisher on Sustainability (Publisher News)

I've just discovered the most amazing publisher of books entirely devoted to diverse topics on sustainability. I want to order a dozen books immediately! Meet Chelsea Green Publishing. Founded in 1984 in Vermont, it has emerged as the go-to source for people with a serious interest in organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and more. They have over 350 titles in print and digital download. A scan of their new releases brings up an intriguing list of titles:

  • The Biointegrated Farm,
  • The Art of Leading Collectively,
  • Make Mead like a Viking,
  • The Book of Pears,
  • The New Livestock Farmer,
  • Beyond the War on Invasive Species,
  • Trees for Gardens, Orchards and Permaculture,
  • Start Your Own Wood,
  • The Local Economy Solution,
  • Will Bonsai's Essential Guide to Radical Self-Reliant Gardening,
  • Thinking for Social Change,
  • The Lean Farm,
  • Two Percent Solutions for Understanding Roots,
  • The PawPaw,
  • The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America
and so on...

I came upon Chelsea Greens's website when looking to book a local cheesemaker, David Asher of The Blacksheep School of Cheesemaking for a cheese making workshop. His book The Art of Natural Cheesemaking is published by this Vermont-based business despite David Asher being located on a small island in the gulf on the west coast of British Columbia. Saltspring, home of the delicious producer of Saltspring goat cheese, is just a short ferry ride from Vancouver. People say the salt sprayed forage browsed by local sheep populations make the meat particularly tastey - we love the soft mild cheese they produce at the creamery with varieties topped in wildflower petals, peppercorns or roasted garlic! What I like about his book and the Chelsea Green style of publishing is that they are totally in sync with today's modern thinking farmers, ecologists, hobbyists and policy makers.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Harbour Publishing Partners with D&M (Publisher News)

Harbour Publishing announces its collaboration with Canada's respected industry giant Douglas & McIntyre. "Douglas & McIntyre, the original imprint of British Columbia’s long-time flagship book publisher, will live to see another day thanks to a new alliance with Harbour Publishing, another long-established British Columbian publisher. Harbour owners Howard and Mary White reached an agreement to purchase assets associated with the famous imprint from its former owner, D&M Publishers Inc. D&M Publishers Inc. published under two imprints, Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books. During reorganization the imprints have been separated and sold as individual entities. The Douglas & McIntyre imprint dates back to 1971 when the original publishing company was co-founded by Jim Douglas and Scott McIntyre. The Douglas & McIntyre list is made up of some 500 titles including the Giller-Prize-winning novel The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skribsrud; the Canadian NonFiction Prizewinner Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese and works by such eminent Canadian authors as Emily Carr, Bill Reid, Wayson Choy, Doris Shadbolt, Wade Davis, Bill Richardson, Douglas Coupland, Will Ferguson and others. The Whites plan to operate Douglas & McIntyre as a separate company with its own editorial direction, maintaining the press’s focus on First Nations, art, fiction and books directed at the national and international market. All Douglas & McIntyre titles will continue to be distributed by Harper Collins in Canada with no interruption of service.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Penguin and Random House Merger Completed (Publisher News)

M&A's are common in the business world, and the publishing world is no exception. The traditional "big six" has just been slashed to five with the merger of Penguin (Pearl) and Random House (Bertalsman). What does it all mean? John Makinson is chairman of Penguin Random House and Markus Dohle, serving as CEO says,

"As outlined by its parent companies, PRH will have over 10,000 employees worldwide and publish more than 15,000 new titles every year across 250 imprints. It is estimated that the new trade publishing powerhouse will have annual revenue of $3.9 billion."

One can't help but think this is a move to better compete with Amazon and the nexus between online sales, online publishing and self-publishing trends in sales and marketing. Advocates from either corporate side had two tongue-in-cheek ideas for the merger's new corporate name depending on their stripe: Random Penguin or Penguin House. Let's see how things look when the dust settles.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

David R. Godine Books: Independent Publishing for Over 50 Years (Publisher News)

David R. Godine is that rare person who spends a lifetime building an exquisite list of well crafted books that appeal to the sophisticated reader. David R. Godine Books have been around over 50 years. That he's a native Bostonian gives you some idea of the nature of his eclectic taste in books, I suppose. Reading through the catalogue I see a healthy dose of original fiction and non-fiction of the highest rank, rediscovered masterworks, translations of outstanding world literature, poetry, art, photography, and beautifully designed books for children.

When French author, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006, I got an email celebrating the fact that he was a Godine author. When I was looking for a book on politics I stumbled on an excellent volume dealing with the topic of rhetoric - in its truest definition as an art form of dialogue and skilled argument vs the pedantic, obfuscating verbal diarrhea slant in which we've all come to view the topic. When I browse the back list of art books and photography I see a collection of classics on regional topics of interest like: The History of the Ocean Racing Yacht, Prints and Collections of the Adirondike Museum, Romantic Gardens: Nature, Art and Landscape Design.

Founded in 1970 Godine's first books were printed on his own presses nearly all letterpress, limited editions printed on high-quality rag or handmade paper. Many of these early volumes are now collector's items. Godine has been awarded numerous publishing awards over the years for his excellence in book production.

"On July 1, 2002, John Martin, the founder and for thirty-six years the publisher of Black Sparrow Press, closed down his shop in Santa Rosa, California. After finding new homes for four of his authors—Charles Bukowski, Paul Bowles, John Fante, and Wyndham Lewis—he entrusted the rest of his backlist to a fellow publisher, David R. Godine. The agreement was simple: Godine would keep Black Sparrow's offerings available to the trade, keep the best-selling titles in print, and keep the house's spirit alive through judicious acquisitions. In short, Black Sparrow Press would be reborn—as Black Sparrow Books at David R. Godine, Publisher."

I invite you to browse their website, sign up for their newsletter and start collecting their exquisite books for your library. They're always at the world book fairs: BEA, Frankfurt, London - a solid and cheery bunch! Congrats on the first 50 guys.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hachette Livre: Second Largest Publisher in the World (Publisher News)

A colleague just published his latest book in the category of Political Science. As it is a page-turner I wanted to write a review and went online to get further information. The search revealed that his stated publisher (Little and Brown) is owned by Hachette Livre, who it emerges is the second largest publisher in the world. Intrigued by this distinction, I set out to discover - who is Hachette Livre and what has contributed to their success? First, Hachette Book Group USA is a leading US trade publisher headquartered in New York, and owned by Hachette Livre. In one year, HBGUSA publishes approximately 450 adult books, 150 young adult and children’s books, and 60 audio book titles. In 2007, the company had a record 82 books on the New York Times bestseller list, with 20 of them ranked #1. In addition to selling and distributing its own imprints, HBG distributes publishing lines for Chronicle Books, Microsoft Learning, Arcade, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, Harry N. Abrams, InnovativeKids, Phaidon Press, Filipacchi Publishing, Kensington, MQ Publications, Strictly By The Book, Weinstein Books and Gildan Media.
Conclusion #1: It helps to have your fingers in the pot of several successful brands that bring volume and quality.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

TOR Books: 30 Years of Fantasy Can't Be That Bad For You (Publisher News)

To celebrate its 30th anniversary—and have a little April Fool's Day fun—Tor Books recently took a tongue-in-cheek staff picture in front of its offices in the Flatiron Building, NYC. President and publisher Tom Doherty is in the center of the shot. We assume the flying saucer and serpent demon are photoshopped in. Are you surprised by the number of staff required to be a publisher? Those people are the reason why Tor has won the Locus Magazine poll for best science fiction publisher every year since 1988, and as of early 2009, they have produced 157 prize-winning novels. BookBuffet went online to learn more about this successful niche publisher. Fantasy and Science fiction are not just the reading fodder of teenaged boys. With a stable of over 100 authors they represent such notable writers as Cory Doctorow, Steven Erikson and Kathleen Ann Goonan. There are 15 editors on staff to keep up with the job of reviewing manuscript submissions, selecting and working up properties suitable to the house. Tor Books is one of two imprints of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, based in New York City. They also publish mainstream fiction, mystery, and occasional military history titles under its Forge imprint.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

GRANTA Turns 30 (Publisher News)

Granta magazine is a literary quarterly from the UK that is turning 30 this year, and they’re asking you to help them celebrate by purchasing a subscription to GRANTA. Digital subscriptions fees have been wound back to 1979 for an annual cost of £3.50 – so there’s no excuse no matter where in the world you live. What’s inside?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Picador Uses Twitter To Market Books (Publisher News)

Since its launch in 1995 Picador has rapidly established itself as one of the leading literary trade paperback imprints in the country. Working closely with the esteemed hardcover houses Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt and St Martin's Press, Picador's stable of authors include fiction and non-fiction Pulitzer Prize winners: Michael Chabon, Michael Cunningham, Marilynne Robinson and Jeffrey Eugenides; National Book Award winners Shirley Hazzard, Susan Sontag and Jonathan Franzen; and National Book Critics Circle Award winners Jim Crace and Philip Gourevitch. Picador's bestselling authors include Anita Diamant, Augusten Burroughs, Salman Rushdie, Lorrie Moore, Atul Gawande and Tom Wolfe. The fun part is every Tuesday Picador will announce a new book pick and give readers two weeks to complete it. You could be one of the lucky people to win a free copy of the book. Book picks range from mystery to literary fiction to a work in translation. On the second Friday you'll get to correspond directly with the authors and editors of the book! Or you can submit questions before Friday to be addressed by the authors the day of the "discussion." Picador will pick books for every taste and reader. Read on to learn about Picador's Twitter program.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pinto Books: From Economist and Consulate to Publisher (Publisher News)

It has been a while since I met Jorge Pinto at the Stanford Professional Publishing course in Palo Alto, California. His distinguished looks, meticulous dress, soft-spoken nature and unassuming demeanour belied an illustrious career in academia, the law, economics, foreign relations and business. At the time, Jorge had just launched his own independent publishing house, Pinto Books specializing in his four areas of interest and expertise: the re-issue of heady out-of-print classics, art books and illustrated books, and books translated from his native Spanish language. He now adds to that an interest in translating Chinese language fiction and has been making connections to the East in both publishing directions: through acquisition and translation, and via marketing and distribution. His relationship with books began when he was on the board of Latin America’s paramount commercial publishing house: Fondo de Cultura Económica de México. Of note, hee has had great success in marketing and sales using first-adaptor technology such as applications for iPhones. Discover this unique polyglot visionary who continues to inspire with his world vision and unquenchable appetite to learn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NYRB Is Having A Sale (Publisher News)

The New York Review of Books (NYRB) is moving offices from their current location to Hudson Street in Greenwich Village. Take advantage of the 40%-60% discounts on excellent titles not often available at these prices. Sale ends March 9th. Just browsing the list of fiction, translated fiction, essays and criticism along with other genres, I have pulled a few titles from my own shopping list. Aside from personal reading interests, it's always nice to have a few extra books on hand for gift occasions in the coming months; these are books suitable for most everyone. Learn more about this important literary and publishing force in America.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Marquand Books: A Publisher With Bragging Rights (Publisher News)

If you attended any fine art gallery shows this past year, chances are that the art book created for one of the collections was designed by Ed Marquand's team in Seattle, Washington. The New York Times this past December featured four Marquand titles in their "Ten Best Art Books of 2007" one of a series of "Bests" that the world waits to peruse before shopping for the bibliophiles on their holiday list. Marquand Books, one of the most respected companies of its kind in the United States, produces fine illustrated books for museums, galleries, publishers, artists, collectors, and architects.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Philip Gourevitch: Editor of the Paris Review (Publisher News)

I met George Plimpton in front of his Paris Review booth at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival back in 2002. A gentle giant, he blended a career of acting (Good Will Hunting) and literary arts as one of three founding members of The Paris Review. He died at the age of 73 in 2003. AbeBooks spoke with the new editor, Philip Gourevitch, and here is what he had to say about one of the world's most respected literary magazines.  

Monday, June 26, 2006

Three Great Books from OTHER PRESS (Publisher News)

Small independent publishing houses are a great place to shop for books that have been hand crafted from the selection processs through the editing, design and printing process. The one thing they lack is a big budget to market to you -- hense we at BookBuffet strive to bring you some of the gems available just a click away! Take a look at these three titles from Other Press: O My Darling by Amity Gaige, And the Word Was by Bruce Baumann and Hosack's Folly by Gillen D'Arcy Wood.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Other Press: BookBuffet's Review of Indi Publishing Houses (Publisher News)

What do smaller pub houses offer that the conglomerates can't? A passion and philosophy about books that is as varied and interesting as their owners. BookBuffet scouted out these fascinating people at the BEA in New York and asked for book recommendations from ten of the most interesting indi publishing houses. We start our series here with Other Press.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Penguin Promotes Its Non-Fiction Backlist (Publisher News)

Fiction and non-fiction used to carry relatively equal weight with book sellers, publishers and the compilers of bestseller lists.   Until recently, fiction was the more dashing, glamorous side but non-fiction has started to produce stars which publishing companies are wanting to promote from their backlist.  

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