This February, the Book Industry Guild of New York, a long-running organization of book manufacturing professionals, dissolved and shut down operations after 97 years in response to the pandemic and mounting financial difficulties. But a group of former BIGNY board members were determined to maintain the organization's mission and legacy as a presence in the New York City book publishing landscape.
That group founded the New York Book Forum, a nonprofit organization focused on expanding connections between the book industry and the general public and encourage literacy, last year. Now, the NYBF has launched a website and blog, and is offering six months free membership for new member applications.
NYBF president Janet McCarthy Grimm, a now-retired former v-p at Lindenmeyr Book Publishing Papers, said the new organization is designed to bring together book professionals across every department, from editorial to manufacturing, in collaborative projects and events with the general public. Grimm said that the focus of the NYBF is to “expand the understanding of the book world, develop public interest in the book industry, and, by doing so, really encourage reading.”
The New York Book Forum board of directors includes such former BIGNY board members as NYBF v-p Martha Hanson, v-p of production at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; NYBF assistant treasurer Michael Kwan, director of production and manufacturing for reprints at Simon & Schuster; and Karen Romano, W.W. Norton production manager, and the former and last president of BIGNY when it shut down operations in February 2022.
The NYBF will also take over the production of the New York Book Show, an annual event formerly organized by BIGNY to celebrate the best in book design and production. Grimm told PW that the NYBF programming will go beyond BIGNY’s focus on manufacturing and “reach across the entire spectrum of the industry and the general public to celebrate reading.”
The NYBF kicked off its initial efforts at programming to the general public in 2021 with a series of YouTube archived video conversations with such reading and educational veterans as Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, and Camea Davis, National Youth Poet Laureate network director at Urban Word NYC. The organization has also produced a white paper on the pandemic, educational publishing and remote learning. And, on March 23, the organization will host “Watch the Show, Grab the Book: The Impact of Streaming on Reprints and Beyond,” a virtual panel that will examine the expanding utility of streaming services.