Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

University presses are keeping American literature alive

BookBrowse News - The Full Story

University presses are keeping American literature alive

Nov 14 2022

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Margaret Renkl explores the importance of University Presses:

Many important manuscripts would not see the light of day if they were measured against expectations for nationwide sales. University presses take up titles that the Big Five, as the publishing conglomerates are called collectively, often won’t touch — not just works of scholarship but also small-market books for general readers: poetry, short stories and essays; memoirs and biographies; field guides and natural history; art and photography; local and regional history, among many others.

The consolidation [of publishing companies in the USA] is a response to the challenges posed by Amazon’s tyranny ... But consolidation is bad for more than just the most popular authors. “What I worry about are the writers and books that will not get published or could be otherwise marginalized because of this even greater concentration of power,” wrote Richard Howorth, the co-founder of Square Books, the legendary bookshop in Oxford, Miss., in a guest essay for The Times last summer. “The number of midlist titles (books with modest print runs and sales expectations) is being greatly diminished, which means that fewer books of quality — or indeed, fewer potential best sellers — will have the chance to be published and read.” ...

This is exactly what makes university presses so essential. Subsidized by the universities they’re a part of, they can afford to take a chance on the kinds of books that commercial publishers increasingly ignore...

University presses, like other nonprofits and independents, aren’t aiming to produce national best sellers, although sometimes they do just that ... Perhaps the awards keep coming because university presses understand something that ought to be obvious in a country as sprawling and pluralistic as ours: The same book doesn’t have to matter to everybody, but everybody ought to have access to books that matter.

More News Stories

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...
  • Book Jacket: Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    Now Is Not the Time to Panic
    by Kevin Wilson
    The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Bell in the Lake
by Lars Mytting
The engrossing epic novel - a #1 bestseller in Norway - of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village's mystical church bells.
Who Said...

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.