Editor's Note: Tramps Like Us
It's a book I read not long after it came out and it inspired me—a guy with a fireplug build and who had back surgery as a 19-year-old—to buy a pair of those weird-looking "barefoot" shoes and actually go running, and without pain. At the heart of McDougall's book is the idea that humans were, you guessed it, born to run—that the human foot was actually designed for running (while the traditional running shoe was inadvertently designed to make running painful).
It's a good reminder, focused as we all are on the next thing—the next title, the next delivery platform, the next surprise bestseller—of why we do what we do. It's easy, as a publisher, to forget about a book once it hits the backlist. But there's a reason we put so much time—writing, editing, designing, proofing, fact-checking, promoting—into them.
Books are supposed to last. That's why bookstores extend past the new release tables. That's why libraries—physical, digital or otherwise—will always have an exalted place in our culture. It's why Ikea still sells so many freaking bookshelves.
And when it all works, it's books like "Born To Run"—stories that live on for years after the launch events and the Daily Show appearances, that live on to make a bunch of achy desk jockeys at or near the wrong side of 40 feel like they've been sprung from cages—that live on, on shelves and in readers minds, and that ultimately keep us going as publishers.
As focused as we are on the challenges that confront us, it's good to remember that nothing keeps a good story down.