Why Bookselling Without Borders?
How do we create a culture of reading that is inclusive and diverse, curated but broad, and open?
By empowering one of our of greatest cultural assets: independent bookstores and the booksellers that run them.
Bookstores are places of discovery, plurality, learning, and reading. They are oases, community gathering places, and hangouts essential to our culture and to our individual sense of self. And behind the bookstore is the bookseller: selecting the titles, stocking the shelves, and talking to you about what book you absolutely must read next.
Booksellers are key in building a readership for any book, and that is doubly true for international literature.
We want to help American booksellers be better advocates for international writing, and to help them enrich their communities of readers with a diverse array of voices from beyond our borders. And we need your help to make this happen!
How can we do this?
Every year, at international book fairs the world over, authors, publishers, literary agents, movie producers, and editors get together to talk about books. Books that haven’t been written yet; books that have been written but don’t have a publisher; books that have been published in their home country but haven’t yet been translated and published abroad; books that are being made into movies; books that one day may end up on your shelves.
But one essential figure in the book world has been excluded from these bookish gatherings: the American bookseller!
To change this, we launched Bookselling Without Borders.
What is Bookselling Without Borders?
In 2016 indie publisher Europa Editions took Ariana Paliobagis, a bookseller and bookstore owner from Montana, to the industry’s biggest book fair in Frankfurt, Germany. There she met with publishers and authors, spoke on panels, and met with representatives from bookseller associations from around the world.
The experience was so positive and the experiment so successful that this May Europa teamed up with another independent publisher in New York, Other Press, to take three American booksellers to the Turin Book Fair in Italy. This too was a resounding success.
The connections made in Turin helped US booksellers understand more about the local context from which great literature emerges, and the entire experience is already making each bookseller better equipped to get this literature into the hands of readers.
The Bookselling Without Borders scholarship empowers, enfranchises, and emboldens booksellers to be better advocates for international literature in a way that directly enriches their community of readers.
What’s next for Bookselling Without Borders?
A permanent fund that will allow American booksellers to attend international book fairs for years to come.
This scholarship fund will give dozens of US booksellers the chance to meet their colleagues in the bookselling world: authors, publishers, editors, reviewers, bloggers, and more. They’ll also speak on panels about bookselling, reading, and publishing in the US, so that international audiences can know more about what’s happening here.
In 2018, we will take three separate delegations, each of 4-5 booksellers from all over the country, to three book fairs: the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Turin Book Fair in Italy, and the Guadalajara Book Fair in Mexico.
To do this, we need your help!
Apart from our eternal gratitude, we have a whole store of goodies to offer in exchange for your incredible support. These range from curated reading lists and swag bags from our partner presses, to first dibs on some of our newest acquisitions and the chance to get wined and dined by one of your favorite authors. Oh, and loads of free books, of course!
Here are some of our favorites:
Blind Date Book Package
Get set up with a title of our choice—after all, who knows you better than a group of publishing employees you’ve never met? Let us find you your book soul mate. Just tell us three things about yourself: your favorite book, your favorite vacation spot, and your zodiac sign. We’ll take it from there!
*A survey gathering this information will be sent to each backer at the end of the campaign*
If you don‘t just want to read books...
We get it, sometimes books aren’t enough. Sometimes you need more. Sometimes you need magazines about books. Sign up today for a subscription to one of the best cultural magazines out there! Choose between The Paris Review or n+1!
There’s no better way to decide what to read next than to talk to a bookseller. We’ll put you in contact with some of our favorites! This reward includes a 20 minute phone conversation with Jenn Witte from Skylight Books, Camilla Orr from Changing Hands Bookstore, or David Sandberg from Porter Square Book. All just as delightful as they are knowledgable!
Receive a bound manuscript or galley
Be truly ahead of the curve and receive a bound manuscript or galley of one our partner presses’ most recent acquisitions. Read the next great book years before anyone else can!
Bring an editor to your book club
Bring someone to your next book club meeting who loves talking about books as much you do: an editor from one of our partner presses! Hear about the author, the writing process, and much, much more!
*A partner press editor will Skype into your book club*
Skype with an author
Ever finished a book and wished you could call up an author because, after two-hundred-or-so pages of emotional torment, you feel like you're old pals? Well, we'll do you one better! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to know your favorite author personally.
Literary agent evaluation
You’ve written the novel—now let an agent read it. A literary agent will read your full manuscript and offer feedback. Who knows, you might just have the next great *international* novel!
Deluxe Swag Bags
Not just any swag bag—the deluxe swag bag. Includes a tote bag from the press of your choice, a fall 2017/spring 2018 book from each of our partner presses, bookmarks, and a Reach Out and Read the World notebook. Show off your love for independent presses—they love you!
Build a library
You have space to fill on your shelves, and we have a solution: every single 2018 title from every one of our partner presses. Check out our catalogs here: Graywolf Press, Europa Editions, Other Press, The New Press, and Catapult
Who are we?
Bookselling Without Borders is a collaboration involving five American independent presses: Europa Editions, Graywolf Press, Other Press, The New Press, and Catapult. Each of us has strong ties to the bookselling community as well as the world of international literature, and is eager to bring these worlds closer together in ways that benefit American readers, writers, and the culture at large.
Europa Editions is an independent publisher of quality fiction, noir, and nonfiction. The Europa catalog is eclectic, reflecting the founders’ belief that dialogue between nations and cultures is of vital importance and that this exchange is facilitated by literature chosen not only for its ability to entertain and fascinate but also to inform and enlighten. Notable books include Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, and Jane Gardam's Old Filth.
Graywolf Press is a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of twenty-first century American and international literature. Graywolf champions outstanding writers at all stages of their careers to ensure that adventurous readers can find underrepresented and diverse voices in a crowded marketplace. They believe works of literature nourish the reader’s spirit and enrich the broader culture, and that they must be supported by attentive edition, compelling design, and creative promotion. Notable recent books include The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison, WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, Grief Is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, Look by Solmaz Sharif, Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith, Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith, and All That Man Is by David Szalay.
Other Press publishes novels, short stories, poetry, and essays from America and around the world that represent literature at its best. Their nonfiction books–should they be history, current events, popular culture or memoir–explore how psychic, cultural, historical, and literary shifts inform our vision of the world and of each other. Notable books include Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg, The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, and The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist.
The New Press
The New Press publishes books that promote and enrich public discussion and understanding of the issues vital to our democracy and to a more equitable world. The New Press is very much an activist press; it seeks to identify areas in which new books and materials are most needed, and to commission books to fill those needs. Notable books include The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen.
Catapult publishes books of the highest literary caliber, offers writing classes taught by acclaimed emerging and established writers, produces an award-winning daily online magazine of narrative nonfiction and fiction, and hosts an open online platform where writers can showcase their own writing, find resources, and get inspired. Catapult believes that the very best stories carry us into territories that might seem exotic, or demented, relative to our personal point of view, but return us as refreshed, bewildered, and changed. Notable books include Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary and Beyond the High Blue Air by Lu Spinney.
Why do we need your support?
Five American independent publishers have committed to providing seed money for this scholarship. Other Press, Europa Editions, The New Press, Graywolf Press, and Catapult have committed a total of $15,000 to get this project up and running. To make it happen we need another $30,000.
We are committed to making sure the scholarship remains just that—a scholarship, equally accessible to all participating booksellers. Your pledges will go toward:
Travel, accommodation, and per diem expenses for booksellers.
A scholarship coordinator charged with making sure all arrangements go smoothly.
Outreach intended to guarantee that all interested booksellers know about the program and can apply.
Thank you so much for your support! Empowering American booksellers to become better advocates for international voices will not only directly benefit their communities of readers, but the culture of reading in the U.S. as a whole.
Risks and challenges
Thanks to you, our incredible backers, Bookselling Without Borders is confident that we'll be able to accomplish our goal and send our wonderful booksellers on a trip that will benefit us all as readers!
That being said, Bookselling Without Borders is committed to transparency—we'll let you know if any changes occur that could potentially cause delays in our production plan. Please understand that this project is a work in progress, and that we've thought through all of the possible outcomes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)