Cover Story: The Two Sides of David Borgenicht
In an era of platform-neutral thinking, the most radical notion Quirk brings to the table is not that of dropping zombies into classic fiction. It’s seeing the printed book itself as central to a business model. If conventional books are like letters, nice to have, but losing ground to electronic delivery, then Quirk books are like singing telegrams—flashy, attention-grabbing and irreplaceable.
“Because we are trying to create books that cross over outside of the book trade, we need to create books that are objects of desire in all the ways that they can be,” Borgenicht says. “We want you to walk into a store and notice it because the cover looks great. Maybe then you read the title, and you’re amused because it’s a clever concept, and then when you open it up you find—surprisingly—that it’s really good, or there’s something really useful in there, and you buy it. We always want people to have that kind of experience.”
Borgenicht cut his teeth at Running Press in the ’90s, where he came to appreciate nontraditional bookselling strategies. Even then, he says, bookstores were beginning to feel pressure from other sales channels, and returns were, of course, a perennial problem. He saw the advantage of creating products that had a “broader reach and bigger brand,” and consequently, when he launched Quirk in 2002, he decided it was important to establish a strong brand identity.
“I wanted consumers to know what a Quirk book is, and come to our Web site because they think we are cool and interesting,” he says. “I wanted us to be a publishing company with the attitude of an entertainment company—that is to say, we are not just publishers, we are not just providers of content, we are here for entertainment as much as video games and iPods. We are another cool option.”