Publishers’ Blurbs

Just as books display blurbs to sing praises for the authors and their works, so do the same books harbor advertisements for their publishers. Below are examples found in the books of three different presses, along with some smattering comments.

The New Press

The New Press was established in 1990 as a not-for-profit alternative to the large, commercial publishing houses currently dominating the book publishing industry. The New Press operates in the public interest rather than for private gain, and is committed to publishing, in innovative ways, works of educational, cultural, and community value that are often deemed insufficiently profitable.

One New Press book I can recall reading off the top of my head is James Marcus’s Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com JuggernautIt’s a fine book, but I’m not sure why it’s deemed “insufficiently profitable” and hence was picked up by a not-for-profit publishing house when Mike Daisey‘s 21 Dog Years – Doing Time .at. seems to have sold well.

Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press, Inc. publishes works that further Oxford University’s
objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education.

Oxford University Press serves as a nice contrast to the Free Press. Unlike the artisinal Free Press, OUP is a behemoth in academic, academic-trade, and educational publishing. Unlike the Free Press, OUP turns quite a tidy profit (some of which is given back to its parent institution, OU).


Public Affairs Honorary Colophon

PublicAffairs is a publishing house founded in 1997. It is a tribute to the standards, values, and flair of three persons who have served as mentors to countless reporters, writers, editors, and book people of all kinds, including me.

I. F. Stone, proprietor of I. F. Stone’s Weekly, combined a commitment to the First Amendment with entrepreneurial zeal and reporting skill and became one of the great independent journalists in American history. At the age of eighty, Izzy published The Trial of Socrates , which was a national bestseller. He wrote the book after he taught himself ancient Greek.

Benjamin C. Bradlee was for nearly thirty years the charismatic editorial leader of The Washington Post . It was Ben who gave The Post the range and courage to pursue such historic issues as Watergate. He supported his reporters with a tenacity that made them fearless, and it is no accident that so many became authors of influential, bestselling books.

Robert L. Bernstein, the chief executive of Random House for more than a quarter century, guided one of the nation’s premier publishing houses. Bob was personally responsible for many books of political dissent and argument that challenged tyranny around the globe. He is also the founder and was the longtime chair of Human Rights Watch, one of the most respected human rights organizations in the world.
. . .
For fifty years, the banner of Public Affairs Press was carried by its owner, Morris B. Schnapper, who published Gandhi, Nasser, Toynbee, Truman, and about 1,500 other authors. In 1983 Schnapper was described by The Washington Post as “a redoubtable gadfly.” His legacy will endure in the books to come.

Peter Osnos Signature
Peter Osnos
Founder and Editor-at-Large

This note and honorary colophon will appear in every PublicAffairs book.

I love this wonderfully long description of PublicAffairs, above all for its injunction that “this note and honorary colophon will appear in every PublicAffairs book”.

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