The Independent Publishers Caucus has taken another step in its effort to become an advocacy group for independent publishers, naming former Tyrus Books publisher Ben LeRoy as its first executive director. LeRoy will be assisted by the just-hired Veda Kamra, a senior at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.
Both positions are part-time for the first year. The agenda for the group will continue to be set by its eight-person steering committee (Ibrahim Ahmad of Akashic, Terrie Akers of Other Press, Jon Fine of Open Road Integrated Media, Tom Hallock of Beacon Press, Bronwen Hruska of Soho Press, Fiona McCrae of Graywolf Press, Michael Reynolds of Europa Editions, and Dan Simon of Seven Stories Press).
Simon and Hallock first conceived of the idea of the IPC at the ABA's Winter Institute in 2016. Since its launch, the IPC has operated under the aegis of the ABA, but a recent fundraising effort has allowed the IPC to hire its own staff.
In a statement, Simon welcomed LeRoy and Kamra: “The Steering Committee has been working methodically to build IPC in such a way that it will last, and having Ben and Veda join us is the next logical step. I love Ben’s energy and that he’s an idea guy—and a book publisher.”
In his own comments, LeRoy observed: "I was fortunate to start two independent publishing companies [and] am a tireless advocate for words and their power to meaningfully impact the lives of readers. I think protecting and celebrating independent voices is absolutely crucial at this time. I look forward to doing what I can to advocate for publishers, writers, and booksellers."
IPC currently has 120 members, according to Seven Stories' Simon, who "receive our periodic emails and have attended programming at one of the last two Winter Institutes, and/or our cocktail reception on the eve of this year's BEA." Simon said that the 120 individual member represent roughly 60 participating presses and that his expectation is that membership will "grow exponentially in the coming year."
According to the IPC, its mission is to "foster a true and mutually beneficial sense of community among independent publishers, between publishers and booksellers, and with readers through a variety of initiatives and shared resources."
On September 15, the IPC is holding an event at the Founders Hall Auditorium at St. Francis College where its member publishers can meet LeRoy and Kamra.