Running Press Archives

Where do publishing documents go when they die?

In the case of Philadelphia publisher, Running Press, all that documentation is headed off to the University of Pennsyvania. According to an article on Publishers Weekly website by Jim Milliot (January 11, 2010), former publisher, Buz Teacher has donated an "archive [that] includes a complete catalogue of Running Press titles as well as correspondence, contracts, business records and advertising and promotional brochures. This could be a potential boon to all researchers looking to research non-traditional publishers during the last 30 years of the 20th Century. Running Press's main product line included heavily illustrated books, mini editions and kits.


Harper's Index and Publishing

Based on a post on Boing Boing today, I went over to the Harper's Index webpage" and input the search term "publishing".

Here are a few of the facts on publishing that have appeared in the Index over the years:

Number of science books published in the United States in 1972: 16,923.
In 1982: 7,900 (August, 1984)

Number of book publishers in the United States in 1972: 1,205
In 1982: 2,001 (March 1985)

The number of titles published in 2006, according to Bowker: 291,920

Number of books published last year in Iceland and the United States, respectively, per 100,000 residents: 212, 63 (June, 2005)



Google Codex Project?

Found while reading James O'Donnell's Avatars of the Word: From Papyrus to Cyberspace. This from Nicholas of Tyre, writing in the 14th C. on those blasted printed books that were starting to be in vogue:

They have chopped up the text into so many small parts, and brought forth so many concordant passages to suit their own purpose that to some degree they confuse both the mind and the memory of the reader and distract it from understanding the literal meaning of text.

The irony is that I wanted to copy this quote and went to Google Books to highlight it and copy it but was blocked and could only see a small part of the text, so I had to pull my dead tree copy out as well to make sure I had the whole passage.

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Every book is an island in a archipelago (for now)

Over at the e-book test, Mike Cane had a very short post called, "The Eleven Axioms of 21st Century Book Publishing." It takes all of a minute to read and should be the signpost for any publisher starting to build an electronic infrastructure for their traditional print material.

My personal favorite is number 6. I think the first 8 axioms are key to changing the trade publishing industry.



I miss those "smokers"

I'm back from vacation with a bunch of news from last century. This week's report will be from the August 27, 1898 issue of Publishers' Weekly, No. 1387.


CHARLES SCRIBNER's Sons will pubish during September "The Goede Vrouw of Mana Hata," by Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer, an exhaustive history of the manners and social life in New York City from the time it was founded until the death of the last of the Dutch matrons... Several new juveniles are also ready, including three new books by Henty, and a new edition of Amelia B. Beard's "Girl's Handy Book" and Mary White's "The Book of Games," the latter greatly enlarged.


JAMES BOWDEN has just arrived in this country for a short visit by the steamer Teutonic. He comes upon his own account and also in the interest of George Routledge & Sons, and hopes the trade will take notice of his stay among them.


THE late Gustave Freytag left valuable manuscripts, but unhappy litigation has sprung up between his widow and a son by a former wife as to their possession.


P. BLAKISTON & SON, Philadelphia, publish a timely monograph by W.C. Hollopeter upon not only "Hay Fever," the growing plague, but upon "Its Successful Treatment," a claim which many would be happy to believe justified.

AT the next meeting of the Booksellers' League, in September, it is proposed to amend Article 4, Section 1, of the Constitution by increasing dues to such an amount as may be necessary to meet the additional cost in making the monthly meetings informal dinners instead of "smokers." Notice of the day and place of the meeting will be given later.

FIRE was discovered on the top floor of the five-story building at 25 Park Place a little before 5 o'clock, August 23. Two alarms were sounded, and the firemen had the flames under control within half an hour. The fire was confined to the fifth floor, which was burned out. The second, fourth and fifth floors are occupied by E. Steiger & Co. , publishers of kindergarten matter in German and other foreign languages. At the time of the fire half a dozen girls and about twenty men, employed as compositors and bookbinders, were on the top floor. They all escaped safely by the stairs.

"MORALS OF THE MIDLANDS" is the title of a new sporting novel which will be published next spring by Messrs. Hutchinson & Co. It is by Mrs. Kennard, whose busy pen has already produced five-and-twenty novels of sporting interest.

A LIFE of the late C.L. Dodgson, including specimens of some of his earlier compositions and drawings is being prepared by his nephew, S.D. Collingwood. The personality of the author of "Alice in Wonderland" was not well known in his lifetime beyond a narrow circle, but it was one of considerable interest.



When Publishing was a Dangerous Game...

I'm away from the library for the next week so here's a double-sized portion of news from the wonderful world of Victorian publishing.

From Publishers Weekly, August 16, 1890 [No. 968].


The Grand Jury, on Tuesday, we learn from the New York Times, refused to indict Manager Patrick Farrelly and two clerks of the American News Company, charged with selling obscene books. Acting District Attorney Bradford and Assistant District Attorney Lindsay sat down one day and read the books- "L'Affaire Clemenceau," "An Actor's Wife," "The Devil's Daughter," "Speaking of Ellen," and "Thou Shalt Not." They marked several passages for the instruction of the Grand Jury and said the books were nothing but trash. The Grand Jury could not find anything in them that would be considered obscene or lascivious.


A MELANCHOLY AUTHOR went to Dumas and moaned that if he did not raise 300 francs he was afraid he would have to charcoal-smoke himself and his two children. Dumas rummaged his coffers at once, but could only find 200 francs. "But I must have three, or I and the little loves are lost," said the author. "Suppose you only suffocate yourself and one of them, then," said Dumas.

"THE little red house near Lenox, Massachusetts, where Hawthorne lived forty years ago, and wrote some of his best-known works, has been burned. Hawthorne," says Harper's Weekly, "was visited here by Longfellow, his classmate at Bowdoin College, Herman Melville, G. P. R. James, and Fannie Kemble, who lived in the vicinity. There are residents of Lenox who remember the novelist well, and are able to tell of the rambles which he and his literary friends used to take over the country. Hawthorne loved Lenox in the summer, but grew tired of the boisterous Berkshire winters, and soon after returned to the eastern part of the State."


WARD & DRUMMOND will publish, Sept. 1, a new book by Col. Thos. W. Knox, entitled, "Tetotlar Dick."

ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, 3 East 14th St., N.Y., will issue, September 1, the "Complete Bible in Phonography." It is now 20 years since the last edition was published.

THE Lew Vanderpoole Publishing Co. have just published what they rightly denominate "a literary wonder"- a story by a thirteen-year-old child, Jessie Agnes Andrews. Its name is "Eteocles, a Tale of Antioch," and it is said to be "a picture of the stirring times of persecution."

D. VAN NOSTRAND CO. have just published "Electrical Light Fitting," by John W. Urquhart, an excellent handbook for electrical engineers; "The Naval Annual for 1890," edited by Thomas A. Brassey; and in their Science Series, Frederick Waller's "Practical Dynamo Building for Amateurs."

WARD, LOCK & CO. have just issued "A Dead Man's Diary," by a writer who prefers to remain anonymous, but who is said already to have published essays and stories "that have been received with high appreciation on both sides of the Atlantic." This record of experience in which he was believed to be dead, is written with a serious moral purpose, and the author's teaching, if put into practice, would conduce greatly to the happiness of the world.

NOVELS dealing with the outdoor life are welcome at this season, and a special interest will be felt in the graphic sketches of yachting and of a Canadian athletic contest which appear in the new novel, "Geoffrey Hampstead," just published in the Town and Country Library by D. Appleton & Co. The Author, Thomas Stinson Jarvis, a barrister of Toronto, evidently knows from actual experience the excitement and the perils which he describes so vividly that he should have a sympathetic audience even among those whose interest in outdoor life in indirect.

C.S. PRATT, 155 Sixth Avenue, reports that his bookstore opened a short time ago is proving a successful enterprise. Mr. Pratt firmly believes that the book business can still be made to pay if a bookseller knows his business and is not afraid of hard work. He has little patience with those who sell everything else along with books, and is determined to make his bookstore pay without doing any catering except to the literary tastes of his patrons. We heartily wish him success, and hope his capital of hope and energy will not be too severely drawn upon.



The Dangers of Drinking, Biking and Tramps...

... hot topics for August, 1899.

Here are some of the top tidbits from the world of publishing as reported by Publishers Weekly, no. 1436, from August 5, 1899.

Literary and Trade notes

THOMAS WHITTAKER will publish immediately a volume on "The Temperance Problem and Social Reform," by Joseph Roundtree and Arthur Sherwell, of which three editions were quickly taken up in London.

DODD, MEAD & CO. have in press "Wine on the Lees," by J.A. Steuart, a story that turns upon certain phases of the drink question.

MISS MARGARET LEE of 344 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., intends, with others, to petition Congress to remove all limitations of time as they exist in the copyright law of the United States, and to make the rights of the author and his heirs perpetual.

"AT last," says the New York Evening Post, "a publisher has been found to bless the bicycle. A couple of years ago bicycle riding was made responsible for the falling off of so many persons (no pun intended) in literary enthusiasm. The wheel took them away from books, and overcame the allurements of the library. Now, however, one publisher has discovered that the bicycle has at least been the means of awakening an interest in natural history, and reports as a direct result an increased demand for books on the subject."

THE CENTURY COMPANY has in preparation a volume entitled "Tramping with the Tramps," a collection of articles by Josiah Flynt, who has made a special study of the tramp question. The book will have an introductory note by Dr. Andrew D. White, Ambassador to Germany, who speaks of the work as one of great importance and fascinating interest. Mr. Flynt has lived for many months among the tramps at home and abroad, and knows them more intimately, perhaps, than any other living man. His work will be illustrated.



News from 115 years ago

Some highlights from the world of publishing as reported by Publishers weekly, Jan. 16, 1892.

"in consequence of the recent verdict in the case of Pinnock vs. Chapman & Hall, it is said that some London publishers talk of requiring an indemnity from authors against proceedings for libel."

"F.J. Schulte & co., Chicago, announce for immediate publication in their Ariel Series 'An Honest Lawyer' by Alvah Milton Kerr; and 'Better Days, or millionaire of to-morrow,' by Thomas Fitch and his wife, Mrs. Anna M. Fitch. Both of these novels, like the large majority of the Ariel Series, are books with a purpose. The central idea in 'An Honest Lawyer' is that, as it is impossible to conceive of a millionaire Christ, so the accumulation of wealth beyond a reasonable limit is inconsistent with true Christianity. 'Better Days' is dedicated to the millionaires of America. The hero, a mining expert, discovers a vein of gold so rich and so vast that the great problem arises how to dispose of the enormous yield of the yellow metal without destroying its value for coinage or unsettling the monetary markets of the world. In the course of the story many of the most important problems now confronting the world are touched upon. They have just published 'Francis Bacon and His Secret Society,' by Mrs. Henry Pott of London, who has devoted years to the preparation of the work."

Nothing else of much note for the oughts, but there is this from the Journalistic Notes of the same issue:
"The February Atlantic will contain an article of great interest by Professor Shaler, of Harvard, a native Kentuckian, giving the reasons which led him to join the Union army in the War of the Rebellion. Professor Rodolfo Lanciani, author of 'Ancient Rome in Light of Recent Discoveries' will contribute to the same issue a very remarkable paper on 'the Pageant at Rome in the Year 17 B.C.,' giving the details of some inscriptions very recently discovered commemorating the celebration of secular games under Augustus, for which Horace wrote his famous, 'Carmen Seculare.'"

Boring, yes. Different than today, not really.



University Publishing in a Digital Age

"Publishing in the future will look very different than it has looked in the past. Consumption patterns have already changed dramatically, as many scholars have increasingly begun to rely on electronic resources to get information that is useful to their research and teaching. Transformation on the creation and production sides is taking longer, but ultimately may have an even more profound impact on the way scholars work. Publishers have made progress putting their legacy content online, especially with journals. We believe the next stage will be the creation of new formats made possible by digital technologies, ultimately allowing scholars to work in deeply integrated electronic research and publishing environments that will enable real-time dissemination, collaboration, dynamically-updated content, and usage of new media."

There's 60 more pages on publishing goodness found within University Publishing In A Digital Age, an Ithaka Report, by Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, and Matthew Rascoff.

I've started to read it and find it a start to understanding what publishing is going to need to do to stay relevant.

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Galleys Galleys Galleys

I've tried to ignore the rise of the galleys for too long.

Let's see how these marketing tools have clawed their way out of the piled inboxes at Oprah and into the hands of common people everywhere.

  • LibraryThing's Early Reviewers started the belief that common people should be allowed access to galleys.
  • Amazon decided to pay homage to LibraryThing's great idea with Amazon Vine, which is essentially the same program with a wittier name.
  • Unshelved recently took a look at what happens when you let loose the galleys of war. Start here.
  • And now there's a class* that may have actually found a way to get people to read the galley and provide feedback!
I will say in defense of the class that galleys really are the only way most people get a chance to see what's next from their favorite author. It's not like most publishers, agents, and authors work to put pipelines online for people to see. We're used to the IMDB telling us what a director or actor is working on for the next three years, why not an author? Why the secrecy? **

With that out of the way, I don't see how this class helps anyone. Yes, it's market research but research based on an artificial setting. Liking a book and liking a book because you paid $95.00 and discussed it in class are very different. For the students I'm not sure what they get out of it other than reading badly proofed galleys. I would think it would be much easier and a little less expensive to start a blog and send a request for the galley to a publicist. I'm sure they're thrilled to find someone who might actually review the thing.

*Found on Galley Cat who was told about it by the Millions.

**Rhetorical. I know how much the pipeline changes from season to season and how much confusion this could bring to the marketplace as a book undergoes it's transformation from a manuscript called "I Shot the President" to a book in the marketplace called "You Talking to Me?: Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster, Ronald Reagan and Me, a Memoir."



The Kids Are Alright

Last week was atwitter about this Boston Globe article that had a few choice quotes from NEA Chairman Dana Gioia about how kids aren't reading. . . . books.

Today's O'Reilly Radar has a guest blog from two of their summer high school interns about the state of reading.

This is a great entry and something I think most librarians and publisher need to read and think about it. It offers some real thoughts from two people who are a) interested in books and b) interested in publishing. What can we learn from this entry?

  • Advertising books in the insular community of bookstores and book reviews can not compete with billboards and commercials and online ads for everything from video games to movies to web sites to TV shows.
  • Books are not considered more important than other media. That cultural hierarchy is gone.
  • Cultural literacy is not as important as information literacy.
  • Web 2.0 isn't connecting everyone together, it's allowing those with like interests to connect. These new tools aren't to get the Lowest Common Denominator. The LCD can't be targeted the same way as small groups can be on the web.
And Elizabeth and Cristina are only high school seniors. Can you imagine when they get to college and there are new resources from Proquest and ScienceDirect to virtual campuses in Second Life and distance learning?

What will your books service look like in 5-6 years? What will Elizabeth, Cristina expect from you once they leave the University?

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