Two small literary presses have launched innovative initiatives this summer meant to jump start sales for independent booksellers.
Tin House, which is both a book publisher and a literary magazine publisher, recently announced that any unsolicited manuscript received by their book publishing arm that is postmarked between Aug. 1-Nov. 30 must be accompanied by a bookstore receipt for the purchase of either a hardcover or paperback book. The same requirement is made of any unsolicited submission received at Tin House magazine that is postmarked between Sept. 1 and Dec. 30. Any writer who cannot afford to purchase a book or cannot get to any bricks-or-mortar bookstore may have the requirement waived by writing in haiku or in one sentence -- of 100 words or fewer -- why they could not purchase a book. A receipt for the purchase of a digital book will be accepted only if the writer explains why he or she did not go to a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and why he or she prefers digital reads, as well as the preferred device and why.
In response to Tin House’s new submission policy, Dzanc Books announced their own policy Monday, addressed to readers in general: during the month of July, the Ann Arbor, Mich. nonprofit press will donate a new book to a school or library of the consumer’s choice for every proof of purchase of a book at an independent bookstore provided to the press by that person. “The book bought should be a work of literary fiction though it does not have to be a book published by Dzanc Books or any of our imprints,” Steve Gillis, Dzanc Books’s publisher, wrote in a prepared statement.