Book Depository Blog



  • New York University Press

    Mon, 20 Jul 2009 09:19

    Founded in 1916 by Elmer Ellsworth Brown, then Chancellor of the University, New York University Press, located on Washington Square in Manhattan's historic and intellectually vibrant Greenwich Village, was, in his words, created "to publish contributions to higher learning by eminent scholars."

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    New York University Press: From the academy to the general reader, NYU Press publishes books of interest to all readers. Our core strengths stretch across the humanities and social sciences, focusing heavily on cultural studies, American history, sociology, religious studies, and law & society. Many of our books are underlined by themes of race and gender.

    We consider our primary market to be as broad as the publicity we receive for our books: coverage in venues varying from The New York Times Book Review and to the most esteemed scholarly and library-driven publications. In addition to general readers, academics, and libraries, we also view classroom adoption as a substantial market for NYU Press books.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    New York University Press: This is a peculiar moment in publishing where the industry is trying to reconcile old methods with new approaches. At NYU Press, we are doing what we can to stay ahead of the curve by embracing new digital publishing techniques. Print-on-demand (POD) has allowed us to resurrect long out-of-print titles from our backlist and make them available once again to interested readers. We are also continuing to explore and implement publishing models for personal e-book readers, the digital library market, and other digital realms. We see the growth of online marketing as another opportunity to seize. Through a robust website and our recently-launched blog -- -- we can clearly see that our authors and their ideas are now reaching a larger audience than ever before.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    New York University Press: Books published by NYU Press must meet a high standard of scholarly excellence, which includes a rigorous peer-review process, in addition to falling in step with our strategic vision for our publishing program. We are constantly on the lookout for the best and brightest authors in their fields -- authors that have fresh and distinct ideas to contribute to the social discourse, both within and beyond the walls of academia.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    New York University Press: NYU Press has been a major voice for critical race theory and is very proud of the genre defining Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Ricard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. We also were at the forefront of exploring the nexus of emerging technologies, as evidenced by our successful Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, written by the elite media scholar Henry Jenkins. We recently published a fascinating study of a godless society called Society without God that has sold well and also sparked some interesting online discussion about religious faith in America and around the world. Other recent books we are proud of include Tales for Little Rebels, a collection of leftist children's literature; Hooking Up, an ethnographic study of sex on college campuses; and Keywords for American Cultural Studies, an accessible A-to-Z survey of prevailing academic buzzwords and a flexible tool for carving out new areas of inquiry. Lastly, one key bestselling backlist title that must be mentioned is Godel's Proof, a readable and accessible explanation to both scholars and non-specialists of the main ideas and broad implications of Godel's discovery.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    New York University Press: Here's a preview of some of our lead books for fall 2009:

    The Left at War: Cultural Studies in the Age of Terror

    The Guantanomo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law

    Snitching: How Informants Are Destroying the American Criminal Justice System

    Parenting Out of Control

    Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible

  • Dedalus Ltd

    Mon, 20 Jul 2009 00:16

    Dedalus is mainly a fiction publisher. The Dedalus list includes contemporary English language fiction, translated European fiction in the Decadence from Dedalus, Dedalus European Classics, Dedalus Europe 1992-2012, Dedalus Euro Shorts series and Dedalus anthologies. Dedalus also publishes literary non-fiction in the Dark Master, City Noir and Concept Book series. Dedalus began publishing on November 30th 1983. Their first list consisted of three first novels, one of which The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin has been translated into 15 languages and has found worldwide success.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Dedalus: Readers who are looking for literary fiction, which is different and not like the last book they have read.

    Dedalus has invented its own distinctive genre, which we term distorted reality, where the bizarre, the unusual and the grotesque and the surreal meld in a kind of intellectual fiction which is very European. Our mission is to be unique - an exciting, innovative and distinctive alternative to commercial publishing; to find new talent and put British publishing at the heart of Europe.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Dedalus: Publishing is going through a period of transition and it is not clear how it will look at the end of this period. Although we are ready to embrace the digital age at the moment our readers want printed books, with striking covers, which they cherish as objects for their library. Print on demand by-passes us as most of our readers do not want to pay £30 to read a novel, so we have to reprint at least 1,000 copies. When people want Dedalus' books as e-books we will provide them. For us, and other small literary publishers, the main challenge is having the resources to promote our books effectively and make a difference. In a recession, you get greater conservatism, so publishers like Dedalus who are trying to offer something different stand out. Our main task is to be noticed and excite our readers.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Dedalus: Some times it is amazing easy. When I began reading Andrew Killeen's The Father of Locks last Summer I felt a sense of elation: this book had been written for Dedalus, created in our image. I just prayed that the author would sustain the narrative to the end. He did and we published the book within six months of my reading the manuscript. There are the eureka moments in publishing -- when we were offered Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf it was as if we were being given a book which was the embodiment of our genre of distorted reality. To understand Dedalus all you have to do was read this book. In twenty-five years of publishing you cherish these eureka moments -- Pfitz by Andrew Crumey, The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin, Bad to the Bone by James Waddington and Dragon's Eye by Andy Oakes.

    I have always been drawn to books, which engage the mind and touch the heart, such as The Book of Nights by Sylvie Germain, The Zero Train by Yuri Buida and I Malavoglia (The House by the Medlar Tree) by Giovanni Verga. I simply cannot say no to this kind of book. When they were translated into English, rather than feeling something had been lost in translation I felt totally the opposite, that our translators had opened new horizons for me. A lot of our translations come as recommendations from our translators, it is rare that we get suggestions from Christine Donougher, Margaret Jull Costa, and Brendan King we do not follow. Mike Mitchell, who translates for Dedalus from French and German, is in charge of our translation programme and it is his judgement, which has shaped our translation programme during the last seventeen years. Dedalus is very fortunate to work with some of the most brilliant translators of European fiction of their generation.

    For the classics we like to find unusual works which have not been translated before, like the novels of Hermann Ungar, or make a whole oeuvre available from neglected authors like Verga, Huysmans, Meyrink, Mirbeau and Eca de Queiroz. In a way we see our role to fill in the gaps left by Penguin, OUP and other classics list, widening along the way the definition of what constitutes a classic . Occasionally we translate titles in print with other houses, where the existing translation is old or in need of replacement or we believe it will help us enhance the reputation of a major author who has not received the attention he deserves. If you read Margaret Jull Costa's new translation of The Maias and compare it to the previous ones you will understand the joy that a new translation of a masterpiece can bring.

    Although we are constantly trying to offer our readers something different, what will fit in the Dedalus list is so clear to our readers, literary critics and translators, that many of our books have come from suggestions -- Phil Baker who reviewed a lot of Dedalus books in the Sunday Times suggested to us a book on absinthe, which we promptly commissioned, Gary Lachman offered us a book on the occult. One of our French authors, Mercedes Deambrosis said I understand why my latest book is not for Dedalus but Mr Dick or The Tenth Book by Jean Pierre Ohl is perfect for you. It was and is. Polly McLean said there is a novel about a lobster having sex with a woman on the Titanic, while it sank. It is very weird and just the kind of novel you should publish. We published Lobster. Sometimes it is easy being a publisher as all you do is take the credit for other people's good judgement.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Dedalus: I have mentioned most of them already. Original English language fiction it is our big three -- The Arabian Nightmare by Robert Irwin, Pfitz by Andrew Crumey and Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf by David Madsen. In contemporary European fiction, the ten novels by Sylvie Germain, The Zero Train by Yuri Buida and The Architect of Ruins by Herbert Rosendorfer. From our classics, The Maias by Eca de Queiroz, I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga, Simplicissimus by Grimmelshausen and Against Nature by J.-K. Huysmans. From our anthologies The Dedalus Book of Austrian Fantasy by Mike Mitchell and an almost unclassifiable book Paris Noir by Jacques Yonnet.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Dedalus: We are working hard promoting Made in Yaroslavl by Jeremy Weingard, a very funny satire of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and Christopher Harris' Mappamundi, a bizarre and idiosyncratic historical novel, in which Renaissance learning leads to the discovery of America. A new translation by Peter Bush of Celestina by Fernando de Rojas, a bawdy Spanish classic from 1499 and the first English translation, by Glyn Jones of William Heinesen's, Windswept Dawn, a kind of Faeroese Under Milk Wood, are being prepared for the printer and will be out in May. We have Phil Baker's biography of Dennis Wheatley, The Life and Times of A Gentleman working its way through to a September publication date.

  • Quirk Books

    Mon, 20 Jul 2009 00:01

    Inspired by the belief that the key to success is a healthy dose of irreverence, Quirk Books is the leading publisher of entertaining, amusing, and informative gift and reference books.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Quirk Books: As a book publisher, we naturally see the book trade as a key market. But, as a gift publisher, our true primary market is the "specialty", "niche", or "gift" markets. We believe that a Quirk book is a cool discovery that is meant to be shared. And, as such, we aim for our products to be a gift-purchase as much as a self-purchase.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Quirk Books: The book market is so crowded right now. And, as book publishers, we are also competing in the gift and entertainment markets. New publishers and manufacturers are creating and releasing new products every day. The principal challenge is making our books stand out amongst all of the products out there. And, that challenge has prompted us to seize the opportunity to continue to innovate and be original.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Quirk Books: Most of our concepts originate internally through brainstorming and development. Our mission clearly states that we want to entertain, amuse and inform. So, it's key that the book accomplishes one or all of those feats. As a gift publisher, the book needs to appeal to multiple markets while, at the same time, have a clearly identifiable target audience.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Quirk Books: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: It is our first NY Times Best Seller and proving to be an international phenomenon.

    The Baby Owner's Manual: This book was the launching point for our top-selling series and it exemplifies our mission to entertain and inform. Real information presented in an entertaining way -- all in a great, gifty package.

    Penis Pokey: This one proved that sometimes it pays to be silly.

    Gig Posters: 101 rock posters that can be removed from the book and hung on the wall. This book challenged all of our departments and the end result is a masterpiece.

    The Field Guide to Stains: Great title, practical content, clever concept, and one of our first books ever.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Quirk Books: Our next Quirk Classic mash-up along the lines of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    Gary Goldschneider's Everyday Astrology: a practical astrology book from the best-selling author of The Secret Language of Birthdays.

    CSI: The Interactive Mystery: There's been a murder in Las Vegas. You must comb through 8 removable clues inserted within the narrative to help the CSI team solve the mystery.

    The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: Just in time for the Fall 2009 movie (starring Robert Downey, Jr), we're releasing a compendium of skills that all would-be sleuths should know.

  • Temple University Press

    Mon, 22 Jun 2009 03:07

    Founded in 1969, Temple University Press chose as its inspiration Russell Conwell's vision of the university as a place of educational opportunity for the urban working class. The Press is perhaps best known as a publisher of books in the social sciences and the humanities, as well as books about Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region. Temple was an early publisher of books in urban studies, housing and labor studies, organizational reform, social service reform, public religion, health care, and cultural studies. It became one of the first university presses to publish in what later became the fields of women's studies, ethnic studies -- including Asian American and Latino studies, as well as African American Studies. Today, it continues in those fields and in newer ones such as disability studies, animal rights, criminology, gender and sexual identity, and sport and society. Temple's regional list encompasses scholarly books, coffee table books, and books about art, culture, birding, fishing, hiking, sports teams, and the urban and suburban environments.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Temple University Press: Temple University Press publishes books that appeal to a broad spectrum of readers -- from scholarly books for the global university community to locally-focused titles about Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley region (where the press is housed). Our books encourage readers to gain new perspectives on the world and a greater understanding of the social, cultural, and political forces that unite and divide us. Many of our titles take an interdisciplinary approach -- they address race and class in history, for example, or examine gender and culture in work/labor -- to provide readers with a wide-ranging outlook on issues that relate to them. But whether discussing a sophisticated academic point or describing the wonders of swing dance or salsa, football or the rest of the sporting world, Temple University Press books aim to challenge easy assumptions and stimulate new ways of understanding the world.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Temple University Press: The opportunities involve embracing new technology like Print On Demand (POD) to have better control over inventory and generate books overseas faster and at a cost savings. Other opportunities include finding niche markets for our books in academia and trade outlets by using electronic marketing tools (e.g., search inside the book) and social networking sites (e.g., Facebook) to help spread the word about Temple University Press titles.

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Temple University Press: The acquisitions editor has to demonstrate that the proposed book meets the Press's standards for intellectual and financial contribution, through peer reviews and sales/costs projection. The case for a project's intellectual merit must satisfy our Board of Review, which determines the editorial focus of the press and evaluates each project that the Press recommends. Although the Board does not consider the financial details of specific projects, it is concerned with their suitability for the markets identified as well as with the overall financial health of the Press.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Temple University Press: We are proud of all of our titles, but some of our award-winners and bestsellers include:

    The Eagles Encyclopedia, by Ray Didinger and Robert Lyons, a comprehensive history of a local (US) football team which was the press's best and fastest selling title in our 40-year history.

    Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, by Sam Wineburg, an award-winning book that asks, "How do historians know what they know."

    The Possessive Investment in Whiteness by George Lipsitz, which probes into the ways that race determines life chances and structures experience in the contemporary United States. This book is a staple of our American Studies list.

    The Gold Standard: The Challenge of Evidence-Based Medicine and Standardization in Health Care by Stefan Timmermans and Marc Berg, which was the first book to explore the effects of dramatic changes in the delivery of medical care. This title won the Robert Merton Professional Book Award from the Science, Knowledge, and Society section of the American Sociological Association in 2005.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Temple University Press: Forthcoming in Spring 2009:

    Bruce Jackson's Pictures from a Drawer: Prison and the Art of Portraiture, a collection of prison ID photos that question how we read (and look at) photographs.

    Filling the Ark by Leslie Irvine, which examines animal welfare in disasters. Irvine uses the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as a way of understanding how disasters like oil spills, fires, and other calamities affect various animal populations -- on factory farms, in research facilities, and in the wild.

    Forthcoming in Fall 2009:

    Jimmy Heath, an autobiography of the jazz legend.

  • Gallic Books

    Mon, 15 Jun 2009 03:23

    Gallic Books was founded by Managing Director, Jane Aitken, working with Editorial Director, Pilar Webb. Colleagues for many years at Random House UK, they are both committed francophiles. They published their first books two years ago in the belief that English-speaking readers would welcome the chance to read new French writing in translation. And this has proved to be true notably with the success of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

    The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?

    Gallic Books: Our core market are independent-minded readers who are looking for something a bit different. Our books do not have massive marketing campaigns, so are not necessarily the most visible in bookshops but have a good web following and do well in independent bookshops where the booksellers can get behind them. I think our books can be categorised as quality fiction, although not necessarily literary, and we have a range of genres from historical crime and historical fiction through contemporary fiction to black comedy.

    The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?

    Gallic Books: I think the major challenge is to get your book noticed amongst the heavily promoted celebrity bestsellers. Over Christmas for example the whole retail trade was sucked towards, Parkinson, French, Walters et al, and many of the promotional slots were taken up by celebrities' biographies or recipe books.

    But this dominance does create an opportunity for independent publishers to provide the antidote in the form of interesting or quirky fiction. And the vibrancy of independent publishing shows that smaller publishers are responding to the opportunity -- publishers like Snow Books, Tindal Street, Myrmidon, Maia, Hesperus... and, of course, Gallic!

    The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?

    Gallic Books: I think the main criteria are that we must have really enjoyed reading a book in the original French, and that we feel it has a potential UK market. Apart from that we're not too prescriptive in how we choose.

    We found our first books by immersing ourselves in the French book world and scouring French bookshops both in London and Paris. We were looking for good stories with a French twist; we started by reading anything that looked interesting and found ourselves drawn to historical crime, which remains a very important genre for us. Of course the quality of the writing was important, but we also chose authors who had enjoyed recognition in France.

    The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?

    Gallic Books: That's a tough one, but we'd have to go for the first two titles with which we launched Gallic Books.

    Firstly, Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner, the first of the Victor Legris Mysteries set in belle-epoque Paris, and very successful in France but which would never have been picked up for translation. We designed and positioned it and the series has really established a following in the UK. There's now even a US edition.

    The second title was The Chatelet Apprentice by Jean-Francois Parot, the first in the Nicolas Le Floch series of crime in eighteenth-century Paris. Much darker than the Claude Izner, it's massive in France where they've just launched the TV series. We launched it in trade paperback which was a gamble that paid off. It may take time, as it did in France, but the signs are that the UK public is starting to see what a fantastic read Commissioner Le Floch's investigations are.

    And of course we're tremendously proud of being the UK publishers of the million-selling French phenomenon The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which has been getting a lot of attention in the UK.

    The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?

    Gallic Books: Lots! Our first non-fiction title is out in July -- Anna Sam's Checkout: a Life on the Tills. Anna spent eight years working as a checkout girl and her book is a witty look at what it's really like to work in supermarket, and what customers reveal about themselves as they pass through the till.

    We're also publishing The Gourmet, Muriel Barbery's first book in September. It features one of the characters from Hedgehog, an important French food critic. As he lies dying he is tormented because he is unable to recall the most delicious food ever to pass his lips. Desperate to taste it one last time he looks back over the years to see if he can pin down the elusive dish.

    Another exciting project for us is the publication of Napoleon's only novella, Clisson and Eugenie, which Napoleon wrote when he was only 26 and before miltary preoccupations put an end to his writing career.

    Finally, we are embarking next year on a new fiction series about a young psychiatrist named Hector. In the first book, Hector and the Search for Happiness, Hector sets off round the world to find out what makes people everywhere happy (and sad) and whether there is such a thing as the secret of true happiness. It's another book with a massive international following that has not previously been available in English. We will publish the second title in the Hector's Journeys series in February 2011 -- Hector and the Secrets of Love.

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