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Archive for June 8th, 2009:


Hope for Book Publishing

posted June 8, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in publishing

Dave Eggers - National Book Critics Circle at ...
Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Everyone these days seems to be talking about the death of book publishing. Everyone, that is, except McSweeney’s. Leave it to McSweeney’s to bring a little sunshine to the darkness. There seem to be quite a few haters out there, but hey, I like McSweeney’s; I love how innovative and creative they are, and you know, they seem to be having fun. There are some things on the McSweeney’s website that make me laugh out loud.

But I digress. Recently Dave Eggers of McSweeney’s said he would send a personal e-mail to anyone who was saddened by the sorry state of publishing (i.e., that print is dead) and needed cheering up. The Gawker published the e-mail, in which Eggers discusses the survivability of both newspaper and book publishing. Following are a few excerpts:

“We’re a hand-to-mouth operation to be sure, but we haven’t had to lay anyone off. To some extent, that’s because we’re small and independent and have always insisted on staying small and independent. We take on very little risk, and we grow very cautiously. It’s our humble opinion that the world will support many more publishers of our size and focus. If you can stay small, stay independent, readers will be loyal, and you’ll be able to get by publishing work of merit.”

“To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive. Again, this is a time to roar back and assert and celebrate the beauty of the printed page. Give people something to fight for, and they will fight for it. Give something to pay for, and they’ll pay for it.”

Here at Thomas Riggs & Company we are venturing into this new and somewhat unfamiliar world of literary publishing, and I find it heartening and reassuring to read Eggers’ words. Give it up for the printed word!