Independent bookstores have historically served as community landmarks and valuable resources throughout the world. The experience of shopping at a bookstore that is genuine, individualistic, and an asset to the local community cannot be matched by shopping at chain stores or online. Moreover, a book is no ordinary item to shop for. Whether it is a picture book for preschoolers, a fantasy series for dreamers, a biography for devoted fans, or a nonlinear peregrination for intrepid readers, a book has a singular ability to illuminate one’s intellect and imagination.
My friends and family were naturally curious when I shared my plans to start a master’s program in book publishing. Many asked why I needed further education to enter the publishing industry. Is a bachelor’s degree in English literature just a fun way to spend four years and thousands of dollars? So I applied for internships before I dove headfirst into another educational commitment. Microcosm Publishing of Portland, Oregon, was gracious enough to offer me an internship, and my personal experiment began. Would this internship be sufficient to teach me everything I wanted to learn about the industry in order to eventually get a full-time job?
Translation is complicated, expensive, and risky to publishers. Some have even said that Americans aren’t interested in reading translated works—for one thing, there are plenty being locally published, and for another, books from other countries may feel too alienating.
The written word only matters insofar as it is made available and accessible—and in this case, insofar as it can be taxed. With the Trump administration dealing with the aftermath of a trade war with China, many consumers and publication producers are licking their wounds. In an unprecedented tariff implementation, almost every form of publication is being exposed to a 10 percent tax increase that started September 1, 2019. A second wave of taxes will come in December 2019.
Diversity in publishing has been widely discussed in recent years due to a lack of diversity among publishing professionals as well as among the stories being published. This problem has been the subject of various panels for a number of years, and the question of whether diversity is simply “trendy” has been raised in the publishing industry just as it has elsewhere. But two organizations are working to make sure that the push for diverse books is not just a trend, and so far they’ve been successful.
Adult books are about learning to live in the world we have. YA books are about changing the world.