If Steig Larsson was one of your essential beach reads a few summers ago, you have the guys at Quercus Publishing to thank. Since exploring what's new in books is one of our favorite things to do at BookBrowse, our ears perked up when we discovered that this nimble UK publishing company is now making waves stateside.

It doesn't get any more low-budget than this: Principals Mark Smith and Wayne Davies launched their indie publishing group in the UK less than a decade ago, and hand-sold their first batch out of a suitcase at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

So how do you get from here to being recognized as Publisher of the Year at the 2011 Bookseller Industry Awards?

For one thing, carving your niche helps. Quercus isn't interested in highly commercial books, nor is it interested in the extremely literary, instead it seeks out that middle ground of intelligent but readable fiction and nonfiction. In other words, just the kinds of books we look for at BookBrowse! Second, publish authors, not just books. Taking care of authors and building them from unknowns to household names has driven strong sales.

And if crime fiction or Steig Larsson are not your cup of tea, Quercus's range is broad enough to make sure there's many compelling reads for everyone. Lit fiction? Check! Narrative non-fiction? Check! Kids' fiction? Check!

Three of Quercus's early UK successes
(showing USA covers, even though published by others in America, as these are the covers familiar to the majority of our readers)

The Tenderness of Wolves The Broken Shore The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Staying true to its unusual name (Quercus means oak tree), the company has grown strong roots and is now spreading its branches. In May this year it established an office in New York and last month it published its first books in the USA.

What are some titles to keep an eye for? Eric Price, Director of Sales, marketing and Publicity of Quercus's North American division, offers a sterling catalog of recent and upcoming releases: the big nonfiction title, George Washington by Stephen Brumwell; Alex by Pierre Lemaitre; and coming February next year, Roberto Costantini's debut of the first volume in his trilogy, The Deliverance of Evil

Not bad for two guys who got their start hand-selling books from a suitcase!

Here are some of Quercus's Fall 2013 and early Winter 2014 books to look out for:

George Washington Loss of Innocence Sanctuary Line Dinosaur Feather
The Last Man Standing Thursdays In The Park Alex The Deliverance of Evil

Poornima Apte is a review editor for BookBrowse; she also blogs at booksnfreshair.blogspot.com

Jan 22, 2014: Quercus announces that it is up for sale.

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