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Wow! Hipster Librarians. Who knew? I worked at a place once where the library was very, very cool. Like jazz muscian cool. But it was a not-for-profit with a very liberal mission, so I figured that was why. Does this mean that my tax guy and my insurance person are also throwing wild parties and adapting ultra-groovy points of view? Man, I am out of the loop.


How well do these "best of" anthologies sell? They crop up so frequently in the big publishing houses I have to assume there's a market. I'm all for providing "gateway drugs" to mass market in hopes of enticing them to buy collections arranged as the authors intended. But do we need more Frost and Chaucer out there? Does HC have any overarching policy about how many mass-market anthologies they balance alongside anthologies of up-and-comers? What goes on behind the curtain in terms of checking and balancing one's suasion over the marketplace?


Well, I wouldn't say there's any definite policy. We certainly look to what we've done in the past, and what other publishers have done, before continuing with a project. "The Best Poems..." selected by Harold Bloom was a great success in hardcover, which we published in 2004. I won't provide any numbers (since a blogger at another house was fired for doing so), but they definitely warrant the release of this title in paperback.

And there aren't any checks and balances other than an editor's or publisher's judgment, which is informed by sales numbers, a book's built-in market, the literary necessity of the project, and miscellaneous factors specific to the book. I agree that publishing Frost, Chaucer and the like is not cutting edge poetry. It serves as a foundational text. We're reissuing it because hardcovers that sell almost necessarily become trade paperbacks not long after.

Ecco does have a collection of new and unknown poets in the works, so there's an example of editorial balance.

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