Editor's Note: Shop Local; Read Local
Our country is in the midst of a growing "shop local" movement, urging folks to support their neighborhood stores, eat locally grown produce, and, in general, make staying close to home with their dollars a lifestyle choice.
As publishers, we can take this local movement to heart. You're part of a local scene, wherever you're based. Do you know your nearby colleagues? Get together with them? Attend or even create events that provide opportunities for networking? I urge you to talk to your local colleagues, talk them up, and support them by buying what they write or publish!
This year at Book Business we've started to focus on local goings-on with our new regular City Spotlight feature. This month, Seattle author and publishing consultant Jennifer Worick takes us on a tour of the innovative scene in her adopted city. Here in Philadelphia, where we're based, we're also working to bring our local community together.
I grew up in Philadelphia, but moved to New York after college to pursue a career in book publishing. After my many years in New York, I definitely possessed that "New York is the center of the world" attitude. Despite my acquired New Yorker-ness, an enticing job offer brought me, with my family, back to Philadelphia 10 years ago. Once back in town, I discovered, to my great surprise and delight, a rich and thriving publishing and writing community.
On the publishing side, Philadelphia has long been a center of STM publishing, with such stalwarts as Elsevier and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins/Wolters Kluwer. Philadelphia is home to two creative and idiosyncratic mid-size trade publishers, Running Press and Quirk Books, as well as a surprisingly large range of small independent book publishers. On the magazine side, we go from city mag — the strong and oft-controversial Philadelphia Magazine — to literary — the nearly 10-year-old non-profit Philadelphia Stories — and many options in between. And our local newspapers, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, still rake in Pulitzers, including, most recently, the Inky's 2012 nod for a series about violence in schools.
On the author side, we can lay claim to quite a few writers who regularly reside on the bestseller lists, including Jennifer Weiner and Lisa Scottoline, but it's the breadth and depth that exists around those brand names that astounds. Recently, I had the good fortune to sit around a table with a number of these impressive local literary lights. The table in question was in our conference room here at NAPCO, at a luncheon we hosted to celebrate the local writing and publishing community. Over sandwiches and conversation about self-publishing, the huge number of new books being published, ebooks, publicity and community building, writers, some publishers, and even one literary agent shared experiences and ideas in a lively and long conversation.
It's these conversations that invigorate us and stimulate the kind of new ideas that lead to new books and new types of publishing companies (such as The Head & The Hand Press, a local "craft" publishing company that, in addition to traditional publishing functions, provides a collaborative workspace for writers and a membership program). We're hoping you're having these same conversations wherever you are, and that you are, like us, building a local identity of which you can be proud!