Lively personal essays from more than 100 prominent figures in publishing and bookselling recall their careers during a time of tremendous growth.
— Buz Teacher
NEW HOPE, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES, September 11, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — Once a pursuit for wealthy gentlemen, book publishing evolved over the previous century into a democratic space for anyone with a story to tell, then into a major global industry. What factors contributed to the tremendous growth of the book business before the advent of online bookselling? How did 20th-century publishing and bookselling both reflect and respond to the massive changes in America since WWII?
Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing & Bookselling in the 20th Century, edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher (September 23, 2023; Two Trees Press; ISBN: 978-0-578-32580-4; Numbered Limited Edition Hardcover), designed by Alex Camlin, offers an unprecedented chronicle of the book business told entirely by prominent insiders — publishers, booksellers, editors, creators, authors, promoters, distributors and sales reps — who were there during the decades of cultural and societal transformation, when publishing books was often viewed as a calling or a desire to be part of the world of ideas. Through more than 100 engaging personal essays complemented by archival photos and vintage images — including original photography of groundbreaking fiction and nonfiction book covers, Publishers Weekly graphics, and more — this collection captures milestone moments in the industry from the heyday of postwar optimism through the turbulent 1960s and ‘70s to the cusp of a new millennium in a way that’s new and engaging.
As Buz Teacher notes in his introduction, “The title of this anthology of reminiscences has something to do with belief in the power of books and what they represented at that time, and how that seemed to unite colleagues and strangers, across companies, into a pursuit of providing information and entertainment for the greater good … As you read these essays, the connections shared by those who made and sold books in the latter part of the 20th century becomes clear.”
Celebrating the creativity, idealism, entrepreneurial spirit and exceptional commitment of people who devoted their careers to books, Among Friends invites iconic names in the business — including Tom Borders, Joni Evans, Jane Friedman, Daniel Halpern, Clyde Anderson, Peter Kindersley, Nigel Newton, Dick Snyder, Nan Talese and Carolan Workman — to tell their stories and those of people like Oscar Dystel, Ian and Betty Ballantine, and Nat Wartels. While personal, those stories are also about the big houses (Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins), the independent trailblazers (Dover Books, Harry N. Abrams and Rodale Press, for starters), the wild popularity of mass market paperbacks (thanks largely to Bantam, Avon and Pocket Books), the enduring contributions of literary and counterculture publishers (from Penguin Classics to the Whole Earth Catalog), the renaissance in children’s publishing, the birth of young adult fiction, bold innovations (from how-to blockbusters to the evolution of book plus), the business side of publishing, the role of wholesalers, outstanding independent booksellers (from Denver’s Tattered Cover to Lemuria Book Store to Women & Children First), the rise of national chains, and the birth of the book superstore.
Published at a time when the push to ban books continues to escalate, Among Friends is a lavish celebration of 20th-century book publishing and bookselling, and a powerful reminder of why the book business remains vital to our country and our culture.
Mouth: Digital + Public Relations