Editor's Note: A Glow Among the Gloom
It’s the first issue of the new year, and I am certainly in a pensive mood. Partially because the start of a new year tends to incite introspection among many of us, as well as re-evaluation of our business state and direction. But mostly, I am pensive because of the very thing we write about, issue after issue, year after year: a book. Earlier this week, I finished reading “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” (the print edition) and am just, once again, blown away by the impact of what you, our readers, do.
Some time ago, Edgar did not exist in this world, and now for thousands of the population, he is as real as this magazine. People have hoped for him, wept for him, dreamt of him and possibly even prayed for him. For days after reading the book, I found Edgar or Almondine sneaking into my consciousness when I least expected it. I found it difficult to sleep some nights. It held me captive in a way that few, if any, movies have ever done. And it has stayed with me far longer.
The author created life from nothing—save his imagination. And the publisher brought the brilliant story and beautiful writing to the masses, and to me.
I do not write this to plug “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.” On the contrary, I don’t particularly like to mention one reader’s books over another’s. But I was so compelled after reading this book that it just made the magic of publishing seem almost overwhelming. What you do changes lives. Especially at a time when the phrase “doom and gloom” is used so frequently that I would be glad to never hear it again in my entire life, it can be easy to forget this. When your day is crowded with battles against rising manufacturing costs, distribution challenges, rights issues, digital media questions, staffing problems, economic woes and the risk of developing new business models for the changing market—you name it—it is easy for the brilliance of this field to fade away into a distant glow.