Weekly Recap: Losing Dust Jackets, Africa’s “It” Girl, PubMatch and Granta Go Global

In Feature Articles by Hannah Johnson

By Edward Nawotka

June 2009

(read the Arabic version here)
(read the Chinese version here)

This past week in Publishing Perspectives we covered paper-over-board printing, spoke with Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, looked at PubMatch.org and considered the international expansion of Granta literary magazine. Next week, we’ll start with a consideration of the legal ramifications of J.D. Salinger lawsuit against Nicotext, as well as bring you reports from China, Europe and the Americas. Till next week, enjoy the week that was…

On Monday, Chad W. Post explained why he chose to print the books for his publishing company, Open Letter Press, in the paper-over-board format, which amounts to a hardcover without a dust jacket. Unfortunately, admitted Post, this format – at least for trade fiction – is still a bit baffling to customers and booksellers alike.

Tuesday, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – the reluctant “it” girl of African literature – discussed the challenge of living in both the United States and Nigeria, a topic she explores in her latest book of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck. “I’m not interested in being a spokesperson or in being anything more than a writer,” she said. “The most important thing is that I have a readership.”

This past Wednesday, Jon Malinowski, president of the Combined Book Exhibit, presented PubMatch.org, a “year-round virtual book fair.” The site allows publishers, agents, authors, illustrators and photographers to create online profiles and enter data in more than 140 categories. “Users can then query the database to come up with an answer for their needs,” said Malinowski.

Finally, on Thursday, John Freeman, the new editor of Granta discussed the magazine’s future. Granta, which has a circulation of 50,000, also publishes editions in Spain, Italy and Brazil, and will now be publishing more fiction, poetry, and reportage from non-English-speaking countries.

Our Bonus Material let you follow Ed Nawotka on the Frankfurt Book Fair’s press trip to China and celebrated the opening day of Wimbledon with tennis books from around the globe. We also explored record sales and distribution problems highlighted at Romania’s Bookfest, and introduced you to the world of online dating for book lovers on the Penguin UK website.

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About the Author

Hannah Johnson

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Hannah Johnson is the Publisher of Publishing Perspectives. Before joining PP in 2009, she worked as Project Manager at the German Book Office New York.