The Sunday Salon: Imprints

While perusing the fabulous T. J.’s new digs at Dreams and Speculation, I noticed that her tags included something else beyond the usual rating system and authors–the publishers were tagged as well. Editing and publishing is what I want to do with my life, but I never paid much attention to who published the things I love before I decided on that fact. This week, I took it upon myself to clean up my tags, so I decided adding the publishers couldn’t hurt. (Fun, irrelevant fact: WordPress doesn’t do spaces between periods for tags, which is why poor Professor Tolkien’s tag looks so squished to your right.) Anyway, I wanted to see–who publishes what I like?

Because I make it a point not to stick to one genre, the publishers of the books I’ve reviewed so far are quite varied. However, two jump out at me; Orbit and Harper Perennial. Both are imprints of larger publishers, and both focus on a specific sort of book.

An imprint is like a brand name in the publishing world–I say fantasy and science fiction, you say Tor, right? But Tor itself is an imprint of Macmillian Publishers, and Tor has two imprints of its own. For the most part, a lot of imprints come about because publishing companies buy other publishing companies, but the bought publishing companies continue to function much as they have in the past. However, there’s also some imprints that are just ways to market a book to a particular demographic. It’s an easy way to tell a concerned consumer that if they liked other things they’ve published, they’ll love this. (Oh, marketing.)

Orbit is actually very new–at least, the American branch is. Orbit UK has a long and storied history, having been founded in 1974 and publishing Iain M. Banks’ work. Orbit US, an imprint of Hatchette Book Group, was launched three years ago and publishes much of the same material over here. Orbit focuses on fantasy, science fiction, and “urban fantasy” (how I loathe that word!), and what I’ve read from them, I’ve enjoyed- I loved The Gaslight Dogs and I would love The Innocent Mage if it was a complete novel. Looking at their publishing schedule, they also publish several books that are on my reading list, like The Poison Throne and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. And on top of that, its logo is simple and beautiful. I’m steadily growing fonder and fonder of Orbit.

Harper Perennial is a little older than Orbit, having been launched in 2005. It’s an imprint of HarperCollins (oh, who would have thought!), and focuses on publishing the works of new and upcoming authors in paperback. They earn my eternal love for publishing Michael Chabon’s work, which I adore, as well as the occasional Neil Gaiman. Harper Perennial appears to fall under the second kind of imprint that’s a brand rather than an absorbed publishing company, since Gaiman’s work is split up among several different imprints of HarperCollins. This means that I can’t exactly trust everything Harper Perennial publishes–after all, I didn’t really like I Am Not Myself These Days, which they published, as well as Breakfast on Pluto. (There are some unfortunate implications about transgendered characters there, but I don’t want to go into it.)

So, while I do read a lot of Harper Perennial (in proportion to the amount of other publishers I read), Orbit is the sort of imprint that I’m going to trust.

In other news, my reading and reviewing has gone fabulously. I have a two week review buffer, which absolutely blows my mind and makes me feel very at ease. It’s weird; when I have a buffer, I read and review more, because I don’t have to worry about finishing a novel before the blog goes unattended for too long. (Where was this buffer when I was reading King Hereafter, eh?) I finished The Sultan’s Seal, Plastic Jesus, and The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck this week, and I’m starting in on Anne Perry’s The Sheen on the Silk. I have a wonderfully tall stack of books from the library on my desk that I picked up after I volunteered at my library on Friday that I can’t wait to dig into. (I almost want to start on Jay Lake’s Green because The Sheen on the Silk isn’t grabbing me, but I know it’s just because the book looks so hefty.) I’m very happy with how my reading life is going right now.

What’s your favorite publisher or imprint?

4 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Imprints

  1. I need to start paying more attention to this too. If I ever get around to doing all the fixing-up stuff I want to do on my blog, I might start adding publishers to my tags. I would like to know which publishers/imprints are the most reliable for me – that’d be a great way to find out about new books!

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