Publishers, not purveyors of food and drink. Just in case you were worried we were going down a whole different track. If you mostly get your book news and recommendations from libraries or bookstores, looking at the publisher is a connection you may not ever make. But if you get a minute, look at the copyright page or peek at the little insignia that’s often on the spine or back cover. You may notice that a lot of your faves are coming from the same publishing house. Following publishers directly can be a great way to find new books and get additional content on your favorites. Here are some of my faves!
I would argue that Penguin Books is possibly the most recognizable brand in the industry. Their lovable little antarctic critter is ubiquitous, spawning a whole range of products devoted solely to the Penguin brand. I seriously wish I was near Toronto so I could visit their store and buy everything in sight.
Not only do they have great authors – Sabaa Tahir, Marie Lu, Jay Asher, Ransom Riggs, Taherah Mafi, just to name a few – but they consistently produce incredibly beautiful collector’s sets. As a graphic designer, I’m personally a fan of the Drop Caps series, pictured below. Any way you slice it, Penguin’s image is a standout.
Epic Reads isn’t actually a publishing imprint, but as the YA social media arm of HarperCollins, this group is fantastic about really diving into their books and giving readers expanded content. This is particularly true for bestsellers like Red Queen, Hunger Games and The Selection, all of which are published by HarperCollins imprints. Their YouTube is what I’m on most consistently, and they have fresh content several times a week. They get crazy excited about their books, especially fan favorite Margot. You really just need to glance over all their video playlists to get a sense for how much they do, but some of my favorites include Book Nerd Problems, DIY with Team Epic Reads and Things I Learned in YA.
They sort playlists not only by type (Q&A, Now Quoting, etc.) but also by author/book, which is super helpful if you’re a fan of one thing in particular. Their website is also quite fun, with quizzes, cover reveals, giveaways and all that good stuff. If you ever want someone to pump you up about a book, Epic Reads never fails.
Two words – book orders. If the image below doesn’t make your heart flutter with excitement, clearly you haven’t fully lived.
Book order day was the most wonderful, exciting, thrilling day in all of elementary school. I pored over those newsprint pages time and time again, carefully reading each title description in case I missed something on the first five read throughs. I highly recommend making friends with a teacher or elementary ed major so you can sidle in on their orders.
Like the overarching parent company, Disney Books knows how to put on a show. From bringing out costumed characters of Elephant and Piggie to handing out decorated cookies at trade conferences, Disney Books is all about making reading an experience.
While Starflight was a favorite of mine from Disney Books, and Rick Riordan is certainly a powerhouse there, they’ve put forth a lot of titles that are designed to connect with some of the world’s biggest fanbases – Disney animation, Marvel and Star Wars. Just take a stroll through their 12+ section and you’ll see loads of your favorite fairy tale characters, Black Widow, Iron Man, and recently Star Wars’s Ahoka, which cracked the top spots on the NY Times YA Hardcover and YA ebook Best Seller lists. Talk about knowing how to tap into the nostalgia factor.
I mostly just love this one because I can go to my Orson Scott Card shelves (emphasis on the plural “s”) and see this lovely line of mountain logos.* Because unlike a lot of YA imprints, sci-fi publishers will smack their logo on the spine big as you please! With varying color options! These aren’t even all of them, they’re just the mass market paperbacks that are all the same height, thus making for better photography.
Not all of Card’s books are published through Tor; his YA Pathfinder series and Laddertop graphic novel have different homes, but in my mind Tor will forever be synonymous with my favorite book** and second-most extensive collection (beaten only by Brian Jacques’ Redwall). Stand tall, little mountain. Stand tall.
Like these publishers? Have some faves of your own? Holler at me in the comments or drop a link to your list and I’ll check it out!
If it is, in fact, supposed to be a mountain. I put aside my plausible deniability and googled it. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, a tor is a “large, free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest.” I now feel supah smart and validated in my artistic deduction that it was a mountain.
**That would be Ender’s Game, of which three of my six copies are visible in the picture.