New England may cull up images of bucolic fields, snow-covered mountains, sparkling lakes, and mud season, but it’s also home to a veritable who’s who of bestselling authors ranging from Stephen King, Dan Brown and Henry Louis Gates Jr. to Mary Oliver and Julia Glass. As one of the country’s tech centers, it is anything but laid back. E-ink was developed here, so was One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit foundation begun by MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte whose aim is to provide students in developing countries with laptops. Amazon, Google, and Mozilla all have offices in either Cambridge’s Tech Square or across the river in Boston’s Innovation District, home to Da Capo Press and, soon, Beacon Press. In mid-April Cengage Learning, citing its desire to be near Boston’s technology and education centers, announced it will be relocating its headquarters to the Innovation District.
Being located in New England doesn’t necessarily mean that a publisher is a regional press. “New York City remains the focus of [Steerforth’s] publishing universe,” says Chip Fleischer, publisher of Steerforth Press in Hanover, N.H. “The main advantage to living in northern New England is that it is in striking distance of New York, and that when we come home, we are here.” For others like Dean Lunt, who founded Islandport Press in Yarmouth, Maine, 15 years ago, New England titles have a “definite cache” that extends well beyond the region’s borders. Even though his books and authors have a regional connection, he sees them as national titles.
Even large houses like Candlewick in Somerville, Mass, which will publish 243 new hardcovers this year, have a high percentage of books by New England authors and illustrators, many of which are set in the area. According to Candlewick president and publisher Karen Lotz, joint managing director of Walker Books, roughly 15% of its 2014 titles are from New England. The press encourages New England authors and illustrators by offering a scholarship at Vermont College of Fine Arts and recruiting for talent at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Hachette Book Group’s Little, Brown imprint was founded in Boston 177 years ago, and while LB and HBG’s editorial offices are in New York City, the company remains connected to the region. “Hachette has a great presence in Boston, where 180 members of our IT, fulfillment, distribution, finance, telephone sales, and managing editorial teams are located. This is our legacy of our Little, Brown division,” notes CEO Michael Pietsch, who began his own publishing career in Boston as an intern at David R. Godine, Publisher.A Good Time for Independent Presses: Spotlight On New England 2014Big Publishers Keep Evolving: Spotlight On New England 2014Historically Strong Indie Publishers: Spotlight On New England 2014A Mix of University Press Call New England Home: Spotlight On New England 2014What’s Selling in New England: Spotlight On New England 2014Cooking Yankee Style: Spotlight On New England 2014Boston Creating A Literary Cultural District: Spotlight On New England 2014New England’s Literary Leaders: Spotlight On New England 2014Yankee Ingenuity: Bookselling in New England - Spotlight On New England 2014