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University Presses Are Keeping American Literature Alive

University presses take up titles that the Big Five, as the publishing conglomerates are called collectively, often won’t touch — not just works of scholarship but also small-market books for general readers: poetry, short stories and essays; memoirs and biographies; field guides and natural history; art and photography; local and regional history, among many others. Read more

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HarperCollins Workers Strike for Better Pay and Benefits

Publishing has long been a low paying industry with long hours for its entry and midlevel employees, and it is based in New York, a very expensive city. It is also an overwhelmingly white industry, and many in the industry feel the low pay is part of what makes diversifying the industry difficult. Read more

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2021 Was a Stellar Year for Publishing

In 2021, trade sales jumped again, but so did sales in the other segments, resulting in a 12.3% increase in total sales, to $29.33 billion, according to the Association of American Publishers’ final statistics for the year. The final figure marks a major improvement over numbers from the previous four years, when sales ranged between $25 billion and $26 billion. In 2021, sales in all segments except professional books topped their 2019 numbers, which have become a measuring stick many companies use given the volatility of the past two years. Read more

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Black Sparrow Press Is Back

Joshua Bodwell is glad he doesn’t have to personally deal with Charles Bukowski. Or Wanda Coleman. Or Paul Bowles. Or, for that matter, any of the late, legendary writers synonymous with Black Sparrow Press — the avant-garde publishing house established by John and Barbara Martin in 1966, in Los Angeles, and shuttered in 2002, in Santa Rosa. Bringing the long-dormant Californian imprint back to life is already more than enough pressure.

“It would be a lot of anxiety if one were tending to some of those legacy authors,” admits Bodwell, who, after being appointed editorial director of Boston-based publisher Godine in the winter of 2019, began working that July to relaunch the imprint under its umbrella. Starting with the spring 2020 publication of Coleman’s Wicked Enchantment, he’s tried to quietly oversee the release of 10 new additions to Black Sparrow’s 600-plus-title catalog. He’s held off on making a big announcement about the press’s rebirth, choosing to build up a body of work he could be proud of first. Read more

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Justice Dept. Sues Penguin Random House Over Simon & Schuster Deal

The Biden administration on Tuesday sued to stop Penguin Random House, the largest publisher in the United States, from acquiring its rival Simon & Schuster, as part of a new drive in Washington against corporate consolidation. Read more

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