Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Publishing and the Ukraine War

Ukraine's International Book Arsenal Fair was to take place in May in Kyiv. The festival's organizers issued a statement with suggestions on what people in the book industry could do to help Ukraine during this time of war. 

Also, Frankfurt Buchmesse issued a statement in support of Ukraine, as have the London and Bologna fairs.

Publishers Weekly included an article describing some of the challenges that have been facing Ukrainian publishing for the past decade, including Russian efforts to undermine the industry in Ukraine. 

Publishing Perspectives features an interview with Julia Orlova, CEO at the Kharkiv publisher Vivat. (Kharkiv has sustained massive bombardment, including cluster bombs.) But she also describes how prior to the invasion, at President Zelensky's initiative, “Every vaccinated citizen of Ukraine was made eligible to receive an electronic 1,000 hryvnia (US$33.29)  Any citizen could spend these funds on certain categories of goods, including books. More than 30 percent of our people spent this money on books.” Yet another reason to care about the fate of this nation of readers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Farewell to Jason Epstein

Jason Epstein, on top of all of his other achievements in the publishing universe, was the author of Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future. Part memoir and part nonfiction introduction to the field itself, the book seamlessly combines a nuts-and-bolts look at some of the inner workings of book publishing, but it also strings together some of the great stories that Epstein recalls from his legendary career, and it is stories like these that ignited in many of us the dream of working in the field. It is hard to believe he is gone at 93

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Scariest Author Reading Story Ever

In the book business, we are used to hearing stories about small turnouts at readings, signings, and other author appearances. It comes with the territory. We also hear about all kinds of mishaps that can happen on the road for writers. But this story by D. Watkins has got to be one of the most memorable we've ever heard. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

How many books does it take?

 This New York Times article "How many books does it take to make a place feel like home" has generated a lot of attention among book lovers online. It's a compelling question. One number that gets mentioned in the article is 1,000. But of course, there are a lot of considerations to take into account for each of us in coming up with our own number. But on the other hand, how many books is too many? The photos in this article of luxurious, commodious, and even ostentatious shelving remind us how book ownership not only implies the resources to amass the books themselves but the resources needed to shelter and display them. How many of us have boxes of books that we may nominally own, but since they are packed away, we don't have easy access to them, nor can we really derive much pleasure from their presence. Perhaps the worst sign of too many books is when one must go to the library to get a book because our own personal copy is submerged in archived boxes instead of being available on our shelves. That very thing has happened to, ahem, some of my best friends. One thing that many of us agree on, though, is that our books on display on our shelves can reflect back to us who we are, what flights of the imagination give us pleasure, and what books have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Latino 247 podbean features Woven Voices Authors

Latino 247 recently posted this short video featuring the late Anita Vélez-Mitchell, her daughter Gloria Vando, and her granddaughter Anika Paris, authors of the Scapegoat Press anthology Woven Voices: Three Puertorriqeña Poets Look at Their American Lives, edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

St. Louis publisher loses 200,000 books in fire

Reedy Press, which publishes books on St. Louis and regional history, lost its warehouse in a five-alarm fire that consumed 200,000 books, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It is hard to imagine a worse catastrophe for a book publisher to face. The article reports that the venerable Left Bank Books has offered to help with an event to support the publisher as it works to get back on its feet. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Afterlives of Discarded books

This article in The Millions ("Books Out of Place"by Rajat Singh) is a lovely meditation on discarded books. The author mentions the reverence for books in the Hindu tradition. I was reminded about how Jews perform burial rites for a Torah scroll when it wears out and can no longer be used. Here in Kansas City, BooksKC has collection boxes that accept donations of used books that go to benefit Ability KC's programs for individuals with disabilities. What to do with books one can no longer keep can be an agonizing decision, especially if they are not pristine and popular. The Friends of the Kansas City Public Library also accepts donations of used books, as do several other charitable causes. But Singh's reflections about book spirit are poignant.