Concerned that its name is hindering national growth, University Press of New England is launching a trade imprint, ForeEdge. “As our trade list has grown over the last several years, we found that the regionalizing nature of our press name kept these books from being distributed properly,” said UPNE sales and marketing director David Corey. “We believe the launch of ForeEdge as a national trade imprint will break down some geographic barriers.”
New England titles have long been UPNE's mainstay, but ForeEdge is intended to bring its true crime, music, history, and political titles to a larger audience. As the name implies, these books are meant to be on the leading edge, in book production “fore-edge” is the front edge opposite the spine. The first list of ten titles, which are due out next spring, includes: At the Point of a Cutlass by Gregory N. Flemming, Once Upon a Playground by Brenda Biondo, and Fetch the Devil by Clint Richmond.
The addition of the ForeEdge imprint won’t affect the number of titles UPNE publishes each season, which will continue to be in the 30 to 35 range. In part that’s because the press has cut back on its academic releases, although Corey has high hopes for Laura Silver’s upcoming look at Knish (May 2014). As for UPNE’s all time bestseller, it’s still Grace Metalius’s 1956 debut novel set in a New England hamlet, Peyton Place (Northeastern), followed by one on connected farm buildings in the region, Thomas C. Hubka’s Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn (UPNE).
The 43-year-old UPNE, which is supported by a consortium of schools, including Brandeis University and Dartmouth College, had its best fiscal year (ending June 30) since before the recession. “The amazing thing about last year,” said Corey, “is that by the end of the first quarter we were off our budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars. With that heat at our backs, we leaned into what we were doing. By the end of last year, we had our best year since 2005-2006.” So far this year, he noted, UPNE is on target. “We did a strategic plan three and a half years ago, and it’s kicked in,” he said.