Look What We Did… for the 27th Time! New York Book Show celebrates the best of what we do
Be advised, this falls under the category of shameless “self” promotion. In case you haven’t (yet) memorized my bio, I am honored to currently be serving as President of the Book Industry Guild of New York.
The Guild (formerly called The Bookbinders’ Guild of New York) was formed in 1925 by a group of 35 craftsmen who met to discuss significant developments in bookmaking. Today we are a volunteer organization with membership of more than 500, from the ranks of all type of publishing staff, vendors and freelancers. We sponsor educational trips, hold monthly informational programs and help to raise money for the Literacy Assistance Center. In 20 years we’re very proud to have raised over $320,000 for the LAC.
Last week was our biggest annual event—the 27th annual New York Book Show. Each year entries are submitted from around the country for books published in the last year. Entries include either covers/jackets or complete books, and are separated into categories. Just within “Children’s Trade” we have “picture book”, “young adult”, “pop-up”, “covers and jackets”, etc. Judges who are expert in specific areas volunteer their time and expertise.
Then in the Spring we show off the winners and have a big celebration.
Please indulge me in repeating that we are a volunteer organization. Our committee (chaired this year by Michele Rothfarb and John Sinclair) does a mammoth job in a short time. The committee members bring their dedication and brilliance, the judges give us their expertise, and additional volunteers the day of the show help make it all happen. Plus, vendors donate paper and manufacturing of the catalog. And we get generous donations from some companies. And this year, to add some extra wrinkles, Hurricane Sandy devastated the NY area during the process and we were moving to a new venue (Hudson Terrace).
Some people get excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not me. I get excited by things like music, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Book Show. Every year I come away from the Book Show inspired by the incredible work that we do as an industry. It’s a fix that I need once a year. Individual people apply their creativity and passion and dedication to make incredibly well-designed and –produced/-manufactured books and covers. There’s an art to designing a great cover, just as there’s an art to choosing the right paper to print it on, just as there’s an art to someone operating a press to deliver the best looking cover. Sure, we all work too hard for too little money… but we make GREAT stuff, don’t we?
It was a wonderful night. Tickets were sold out (more than 400), Hudson Terrace staff did a great job (people even liked the food!), everyone got to look at the winners in all the categories, and have a great time in the process. And the next day, as in past years, the books were donated to the Literacy Assistance Center. Attendees at the show get to vote on “Best in Show.” This year it’s from the General Trade category — a series by Clarice Lispector (Near to the Wild Heart, Agua Viva, The Passion According to G.H., A Breath of Life)
My only disappointment this year was that we were unable to get an ebook component to the show in place. I was surprised by the reaction I got when I tried to make this happen. I offered publishers the opportunity to show off their ebooks—no entry fee, no competition category. Just show off the cool stuff you’ve done. After an initial “that’s a great idea,” we got no takers. I also offered ebook hardware companies (Amazon, B&N, etc.) the opportunity to show off their hardware at the Book Show. Also no takers.
Print is still primarily what we do, but if the Book Show is a celebration of what we do as an industry then ebooks must be part of that. Perhaps I did a poor job of leading our efforts… well, that’s pretty likely, actually. I would ask anyone out there with suggestions, experience, or advice to reach out to me. We do a world class Book Show and we should have a world class ebook component to it.
We haven’t yet posted the gallery from this year’s show on our web site, but you can go there to see the gallery from last year: http://bookindustryguildofny.org/
Sorry you missed it? Come to our meeting on May 15. We’ll have winning designers talking about their projects. Specifics are on the web site.
Most importantly—mark your calendars. On approximately Oct. 1, 2013, we will be sending out the call for entries. And it will be time to strut your stuff once again.
He is currently Production Director for Teachers College Press. Previously, he was Vice President, Global Content and Media Production for Cengage Learning. Prior to that he was Vice President of Production and Manufacturing for Oxford University Press, Pearson/Prentice Hall, Worth Publishers and HarperCollins.
In those capacities, he has been a leader in managing process and content for delivery in as many ways possible.