Red Heifer Press
What Kind of Publishing Company?
Copyright © 2004 by Red Heifer Press
It used to be that the finest publishing companies gallantly considered it their civic duty to print each year a limited number of adventurous titles purely on the basis of their literary or documentary merit. In other words, without considering "The Bottom Line".
It used to be that you could choose from a broad selection of independent bookstores, run by owner/managers who personally selected their stock according to their own educated judgment and taste.
It used to be that those bookstores were full of independent-minded readers who were unafraid to swim out of the mainstream in search of books that would do more than just entertain or inform.
That world has changed. "Gallant publishing" has all but expired. Whatever the reasons-declining standards in education, the overwhelming power of television and film, disparagement of culture by the Media, economic upheavals within the book trade, etc.- everyone in publishing knows this. Few are trying to do anything about it.
At Red Heifer Press, we believe that despite current trends, there is still, and always will be, a significant "undergound" of independent, discriminating readers, hungry for excellent, thoughtful writing that challenges conventional thinking, current fashion and unofficial censorship. We know that this kind of writing is still being produced. Much of it is unpublished, and not favored to be published. We aim to publish it.
Red Heifer Press is committed to the ideal of "Gallant Publishing". Our contracts are tailored to fit the circumstances of each situation. We offer both standard royalty contracts and joint-venture agreements. We will entertain subsidy proposals for books outside our main fields of interest, but never at the expense of quality. We believe we can provide an invaluable service to the community of intelligent readers and to the outstanding writers and thinkers they are looking for.
Red Heifer Press is no longer a fledgling operation. Thanks to our promising roster of gifted writers, scholars and artists, we have established a growing international reputation as a dedicated literary and scholarly press of high standards and lofty aspirations. We have received excellent submissions from Canada, Israel, England, Switzerland, China, and the US. We have filled orders from all over the US, as well as from England, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Mervyn Nicholson's ground breaking 13 Ways of Looking at Images received an outstanding writeup in The Bloomsbury Review. Septuagenarian Alex Stone's wonderful first novel, If I Could Sleep, won high praise in several literary columns. Peter Gimpel's verse deconstruction of Carl Sagan (Professor Gansa's Dream) got a full page review by Sci-Fi luminary David Brin in the San Diego Jewish Press. Forbes / Sellmer's stunning collection of paintings and poems, Rumours of Bees, drew a record-breaking crowd to the Kamloops, B.C. Museum exhibition and booklaunch. With G-d's help, and our readers', we are definitely on the way.
The road is not an easy one. We have learned first-hand the difficulties of surviving in a trade increasingly held captive by market forces that no longer consult the intrinsic value of any particular book. While sales and quality still occasionally run parallel, the determination of what the bookstores will offer is now made primarily by remote, centralized buyers whose sole criterion is their estimation of what is likely to generate sales-a decision that is based predominantly on surveys provided by the Nielsen Corporation! Trends thus established influence in turn not only what publishers publish, but what writers write! What space the chain stores still actually devote to books (as opposed to promos, glitzy displays, cutesy reading areas and coffee shops) is increasingly taken up by "TRM"-Transient Reading Material: current events, style, trendy cuisine, recycled and repackaged knowledge, media celebrities, computer manuals, how-to, self-help and sexploitation-in brief: pop culture. Not since Mao's Cultural Revolution has original thinking and independent creativity met with such a challenge.
What is at stake is our own freedom to read, to think and to choose. Our local chain supermarket now stocks its "oral care" shelves with its best-selling brand of toothpaste-to the virtual exclusion of other favorite brands. This technique of sales optimization is known as "category management," and is rapidly replacing product variety as the prevalent supermarket marketing philosophy. Chain bookstores use the same technique!
Books are not toothpaste! Independent booksellers (like Dutton's Brentwood Books in Los Angeles) still invest a great deal of personal time and effort in deciding which new titles shall add weight to their already groaning shelves. Our own publishing choices reflect decades of reading, studying and reflecting on what makes a book worth acquiring, reading, and keeping. Make Red Heifer Press and other fine independent bookstores and presses your neighborhood literary hangout. Browse our catalog and tell your friends and colleagues to visit us, too.
For further information and some shocking book trade statistics, visit http://www.parapublishing.com/statistics/
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Red Heifer Press