Who’s the Publisher? And Why it’s Important
You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, and I personally give thanks for that, but you can tell a lot about a book by its publishing imprint. Last month I passed along Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret to Ann for review. It had a flowery, girly cover, but the plot sounded interesting and I was so relieved when Ann took it (among many others that were more to her liking). If I didn’t know that I would get Ann’s copy back, based on her review, I would have gone out and bought a copy.
I remember getting the book from Wendy Pearl, the Penguin rep, and I just assumed the publisher was Penguin. But reviewer Ann Ronald listed the publisher as Amy Einhorn Books, so to be on the literary safe side before publishing her review, I double checked. Amy Einhorn Books is under the Penguin umbrella, but its identity is all its own, and from what I’ve been able to pick up by browsing here and there, its success is clearly the work of Einhorn herself. Going through our own reviews, I found The Help and A Good American were also titles selected by Einhorn.
According to Penguin.com (USA), “The overarching tenet of Amy Einhorn Books is to hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial—intelligent writing with a strong narrative and great storytelling.” A longer and more in depth look at Einhorn can be found in an article by Constance Casey, The Einhorn Touch, published in the March/April 2013 edition of “Stanford Alumni.” http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=59969.
What’s the point of all this, beyond looking for titles with Einhorn’s imprint? Well, for starters, we reviewers aren’t the only people the reading public should look to for a good read. The next time you read a book that you find surprisingly, and maybe even extraordinarily, worthwhile, fiction or otherwise, take note of the name of the publisher, then take a look at the acknowledgment page. Somewhere in there will be the name of an editor to whom the author is most grateful. Combine those two, publisher and editor, and browse the Internet to see what other titles they’ve touched, titles you may have missed. It’s not a particularly “social media” way to find a good read, it’s way too solitary, but I can almost guarantee you that there are titles to be found that are worth your time and money, whether or not they ever make anyone’s best seller list. If you are a reader who likes to check out the thumbs up or down of book reviews, why not begin to look to your own hand? I’d give you five stars for that move. – Sunny Solomon