New Directions Publishing has unveiled a subscription program for readers. The New Classics Club will mail readers a newly released title each month for a year for a $150 subscription price. Each title will be selected by an editor at New Directions and readers will also receive an illustrated copy of the The Way it Wasn’t, which chronicles the life of press founder James Laughlin through letters, ephemera, and photographs.
A storied figure in American publishing, Laughlin ran New Directions from its founding in 1936 until his death in 1997. Over the course of his career, Laughlin introduced American readers to works by Vladimir Nabokov, Denise Levertov, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and countless others. Many of the titles he published gained status as classics over time instead of instantaneously, which led publicity co-director Mieke Chew to come up with the new program.
“New Directions is continuing his editorial vision to acquire, edit, and publish books that will eventually—if you are patient—become classics,” said Chew.
The club reflects the publisher’s desire to reach New Directions’ most avid readers and emphasize certain titles that might otherwise take time to attract attention. “We have this very distinctive list and we have this following we’re close with, but we haven’t really been speaking with them directly,” Chew said. “There are only so many ways of engaging with a business or a publishing house and we really see the list as a cohesive breathing thing, so that’s what we really see the New Classics Club as trying to do.”
After The Way it Wasn't, the first book in the club will be Anne Carson’s poetry collection, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy. The Way it Wasn't will begin going out on Monday, March 2.