In the latest sign that print book sales are growing, Candlewick Press in Somerville, Mass., is readying a new imprint, Candlewick Studio, which will publish design-driven books with high production values. The inaugural list of four books will release this fall, and it includes Retro Photo: An Obsession by David Elwood (Fairie-ality), a photographic essay on vintage cameras and the kinds of photographs they take.
Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press and managing director of the Walker Books Group, described the imprint as “an expression of our love for the printed book.” She added, “We hope that even from across a bookstore, Candlewick Studio titles will entice book-lovers of all ages to come closer.” Although the inaugural titles are all large-format books, she noted that the press has no plans to impose restrictions on trim size or a quota on the number of titles. “ ‘Just the right books’ will be our mantra,” she said. Lotz held out the possibility of Studio miniatures in the future. “It’s the unique and special presentation of the title that would make it a Studio book,” she added.
As for the decision to launch Candlewick Studio, Lotz noted that the press has a tradition of creating one-of-a kind art-driven books, or “specials,” which don’t fit neatly into a category. “Readers who love print books really do love especially well-made print books,” she said. “And there is great loyalty from these readers to books made with artisanal values in mind. We’ve decided that the bookselling climate right now is ready to embrace a separate line of such titles, where we could showcase them all properly.”
The fall 2016 launch list highlights the range and cohesion of the imprint, which is intended to appeal to children and adults, as well as book collectors. “These books are all very different, but they are unified by their innovation and their respect for the reader,” said senior editor Katie Cunningham, who edited the inaugural Candlewick Studio list and will be a key editor on the imprint. In addition to the Elwood title, Candlewick Studio will issue a giant picture book, Animals by Swedish designer Ingela P. Arrhenius; a board book/board game for very young children, Give and Take by Lucie Félix; and An Artist’s Alphabet by illustrator Norman Messenger, depicting shaped letters (C, for instance, is made of sea waves).
Candlewick and its parent company, Walker Books, are each experimenting with artisanal imprints this fall. In the U.K., Walker Books will launch a line called Walker Studio at the same time as Candlewick Studio in the U.S. There may be limited overlap between the two lists, but both are designed to appeal to their specific markets. Their inaugural lists share two titles: Animals, with 32 giant images of friendly animals, and An Artist’s Alphabet. Both imprints, however, will be carried by Walker Books Australia. And both aspire to find quality books published in other languages and make them available in English.