Monday, March 17, 2008
Barnes and Noble and The Small Press.
Ok. I can understand why Barnes and Noble can’t stock the many titles that are produced in the Small Press. But for crying out loud, when you have a well-known local poet, whose book has received good coverage in the local media, will be making appearances at local colleges, and reading around town, don’t you think you could be a bit more community minded? Barnes and Noble at Harvard University refused to grant any shelf space for Lisa Beatman’s book of poetry “Manufacturing America” a book of poetry about immigrant workers at the Ames Safety Envelope Factory in Somerville, Mass. They also refused to give her a reading at the store. Lisa is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and the publisher has a graduate degree from the University as well. And what’s funny this is the University’s bookstore! Most colleges I have dealt with have no problem doing this for their former students. It would be great if a poet who writes about the unsung workers in a local factory could read at a venue like this, along with the other authors who get recognition from the store. Thank god for indies like Porter Square Books, McIntyre and Moore, the Grolier---where would we be without them!
Doug Holder/Ibbetson Street Press
Here are the exchanges between Beatman and the store.
Thanks for your email. I do understand about market forces. However, your
decision to exclude considering small press publications, particularly in
the case of a Harvard alumna, is an unfortunate one. It perpetuates the
public perception that when a large national chain takes over a venerable
local institution, it loses its character and responsiveness to the
Thank you for letting us know about your book. When it comes to stocking
books on the shelves of our store and choosing authors for our events, we
have to make choices. More than 150,000 new titles annually are submitted to
our store by traditional publishers. With more than 1.5 million books in
print via traditional publishers & distributors, our store does not have
room to stock the tens of thousands of small press titles that are produced
The Harvard Coop
Trade Book Manager