When Publerati's founder, Caleb Mason, recently returned to book publishing after a 25-year break, he was greeted by an industry nearly unrecognizable from the one he left after being managing editor at Little, Brown, when e-books didn't exist and reading digitally was a science fiction fantasy.
Mason went on to forge a career in the photography industry just as it was beginning to leave film processing for digital cameras. This mirrored what later happened in the book business. Because Mason learned the digital technology of photography, he felt comfortable making the transition to publishing quality fiction e-books. "I wasn't sure where to begin finding authors, though," he says, "so I tried posting on the Amazon Book Awards forum page. I said that I was looking for quirky, quality fiction. A few writers contacted me, and then word of mouth started moving things along quickly."
Four of the seven fall 2013 titles Publerati is releasing are by novelists who teach creative writing at universities, including Ellen Cooney (Thanksgiving, Sept.), most recently writer in residence at MIT. Other novels include Michael Fargo's Epistle by Daniel Westover (Oct.), and John Flynn's Dreaming Rodin (Sept.). Each title will be available in all popular e-book formats, including Kobo.
Publerati (www.publerati.com) focuses not only on literary fiction but also on Mason's belief in sharing e-books in a socially responsible way. To that end, he has partnered with the nonprofit organization Worldreader (www.worldreader.org) to donate each title and a portion of every sale to less fortunate readers in developing nations. "I'm aware of the power of expanding literacy using e-books and e-readers provided by sharing of funds," Mason says. "One person pays, another person gains access."
Publerati is located in Portland, Maine, where Mason runs the business by himself. "I like having a micro-business," he says, although he perceives the future of e-books in a big way. "When a good POD machine is finally made available, I can see them in small media stores within large drugstore and grocery chains. This would be similar to the photo stands that already exist in these places, where people come in to order digital prints." In the future, perhaps, readers could upload a Publerati title into a POD machine and return for the printed book after buying groceries in the same store.