Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Just how many of you actually pay attention to what is on the spine of your books? Probably not many. It can sometimes tell you a lot about the book you are holding. Sure most people look at the genre label across the top, and we know that's not all that helpful these days, but I am talking about the actual publishing house imprint.

Working for the Devil is a great example. Why? Because it was one of the first releases under Hachette company's new sci-fi/fantasy imprint Orbit. Eos, publisher of Kim Harrison's series, is Harpercollins's equivalent and Del Rey belongs to Random House. So you know that if you pick up a book bearing one of these imprint logos, you've got a sci-fi/fantasy title in your hand.

Of course, not all imprints are this simple. William Morrow, for example, is an imprint of Harpercollins that publishes every genre imaginable. Random House's Doubleday and Ballantine imprints are much the same, as is Penguin's Dutton. The only thing you can be fairly sure of when looking at these is that they are adult titles (they have separate imprints for YA and kids books). So, how does this help, you might be asking? Take a look at your bookshelves. What imprint do you see that's most prevalent there? For me it may just be William Morrow because I do read quite a few of their titles. This means that whoever is on staff, acquiring titles for the imprint, has a knack for picking books that you like.

Another one that's helpful is the publisher itself. I'll post another blog on small presses, but I can't leave out a mention of them here. A lot of small presses publish for specific markets. Bleak House is a great example of this - typically with small publishers (even more so than imprints who do many genres), if you like one of their authors, you will more than likely enjoy other titles from the same press. If you are curious, Bleak House publishes dark and gritty mysteries and had three Edgar nominations this year. (Bleak House is technically now an imprint of another small press.)

Try it next time you're browsing the bookstore. Look at the imprints and pick up a few random titles based on this alone (reading the flap copy or back cover), you might find something you like that's completely new to you.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Good advice. I love finding new authors