Your Imprint

Just My Style: Finding the Perfect Imprint

Your Imprint

Before I started blogging, I had no clue who published the books I was reading. The names of the big five (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster) were familiar, but inconsequential. Recently, though, I’ve come to realize that the specialization of individual imprints can be extremely helpful in finding titles best suited to my reading taste. Here are a few (big imprints, small presses will get their own post!) that I’ve started to notice some positive trends with.

Knopf Doubleday

I’m a pretty huge fan of all the Knopf Doubleday imprints, which include Knopf, Doubleday, Pantheon, and Nan. A Talese, among others. There’s still quite a bit of variety under the Knopf Doubleday umbrella, as each individual imprint specializes in a specific type of book. A Little Life, Americanah, Stone Mattress, and All the Birds, Singing are just a few of the powerhouse titles that have sprouted up from Knopf Doubleday.

Liveright

I also love the great mix of fiction and nonfiction coming out of Liveright, which is an imprint of W.W. Norton. I very rarely encounter a dud, and have absolutely loved recent titles like Sweetland, Severed, and The Animals.

Hogarth

Hogarth is another imprint, which falls under Crown, that consistently puts out some amazing literary fiction. The Shore, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, and The Dinner are a few of my recent favorites.

Lee Boudreaux Books

I have to throw in my insane excitement for Lee Boudreaux Books, a new imprint of Little, Brown which has its first titles lined up for early next year. Lee Boudreaux acquired and edited some of my very favorite books, including The Sisters Brothers, The Son, and Fourth of July Creek. Obviously, she has impeccable taste, and I can’t wait to read what the imprint has in store.

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Have you noticed that you have better luck with some imprints over others? Do you specifically seek out titles from certain publishers? 

 

  • I always like to see what Europa Editions is putting out, even though I haven’t read many of their books. And I’m a big fan of Persephone Books and Slightly Foxed editions, though those are reprints. My reading tends to be less of the moment than yours. (I love the Borzoi graphic by the way. So fun!)

  • I do sometimes go check out the new releases of particular publishers (the smaller ones, usually), but I should pay more attention to the divisions of the bigger ones. There are just so many, but it would be really interesting to keep track.

    • I’m actually keeping track of imprints in my reading spreadsheet this year – I’m really curious if there will end up being a trend when it comes to the books I enjoyed most.

  • I’m still in the category of not paying a ton of attention to imprints, but now you’ve convinced me to start! I’m adding a column on my spreadsheet for imprint…and hopefully it will help my book selection problems as well :) And – I’ll pay special attention to the ones you’ve shared here – especially Hogarth!

  • Knopf Doubleday never lets me down, and I usually love Riverhead, Henry Holt, and Crown (I think Hogarth is one of its imprints?). And Graywolf isn’t an imprint, but I’ve loved everything I’ve read from them.

  • I don’t think there are any imprints that I trust implicitly, but there are some where when I’m already interested in a book, knowing that imprint is publishing it cinches it for me. I like Ecco, I like Riverhead, I like Orbit.

    I didn’t know Lee Boudreaux was getting her own imprint and had edited those books! That’s awesome! I choose to believe she’s a Louisiana girl (that last name!) and feel hometown pride in her. :p

    • She did a great interview with Brad Listi on the Other People podcast and if I remember right she is from Louisiana (or at least has strong family ties – of course)!

  • I find the number of imprints and who they belong to very confusing, but following and tracking books from specific imprints is a great idea for knowing what books may be more to your taste. I look forward to your other posts on the big imprints and small presses.

  • Maria Giordano

    I like Europa Editions and Bitter Lemon Press for international authors .

    Also like Algonquin And Other Press for literary fiction.

  • nordie@writing about books

    I’m trying to remember to mark who has published which books, and include them in any reviews, especially if I’ve got the book via netgalley etc – it’s not just the author that needs the boost but sometimes the publisher too! If I’ve also picked up an ARC from a bigger publisher I look to mark who I got it from, in order to remember to thank them later!

    It’s a bit hit and miss, but I’m liking books from Le French Book a US publisher covering books originally in French

    • I’m not sure if anyone notices, but I mark the publisher on my reviews, too, and in a spreadsheet I have for myself…it’s interesting to keep track of sometimes.

  • This is a great post, and I have noticed that there are some imprints that I like more than others. The imprints are even narrowing down more, I’ve noticed, to become even more specific in what they publish. I have to picture a family tree in my mind when I try to keep track of imprints because there are so many out there, and I always want to know who is the parent company, too. Of course, there are a few imprints I tend to stay clear of, yet their parent publisher might be one of my favorites.

    • There are a few I stay clear of, too ;) But yes! I like that they’re starting to narrow down a bit…it makes it a little easier to pick favorites.

  • Vasilly

    I love this! Now I want to check out some of your favorite imprints like Liveright. Some of my favorite publishers and imprints are Random House (adult and children’s), Graywolf, FirstSecond (comic books), and Riverhead.

  • Great post! I never gave much thought to it either, but moving forward I’ll try to be more cognizant of publishers and imprints. Thanks!

  • Great post! Your questions have left me pondering and my eyes wandering to my bookshelves, haha; will have to think on which publishers I read from often and which I’ve had better luck with.

    Btw, have I mentioned that I love your new layout here? :)

    • Oooo, looking at your bookshelves is the fun way – going through all the spines to see which logo repeats the most ;)

      And thank you! I’m still getting used to the layout, but it was a fun change.

  • Yep, I have definitely noticed that there are certain publishers from whom I tend to find selections I enjoy: Riverhead (Penguin), Penguin Random House, Atria (Simon & Schuster) and St. Martin’s Press. I always check out their new selections!

  • I’m all over the map, but I’ve had good luck with Riverhead, Henry Holt, Ecco, Graywolf (press, not an imprint, I guess), and FSG. Liveright always sounds intriguing to me but I find their publicity team hard to get in touch with.

  • Like you, I never paid any attention at all to who published what book until I started blogging. I don’t think I have been keeping track long enough to notice any trends… but maybe by the end of this year. I added a “Publisher” column in my nerdy speadsheet that I track books I’ve read on, so the statistics will be telling!

    • I’m doing that for the first time this year, too! I just ran some of my stats a few weeks ago and it was reallllly interesting.

  • Even after working in publishing for a while imprints kind of confuse me. Most of the confusion comes from the fact that some imprints are international and others aren’t. Some are purely Canadian or American as the case may be. I’ve definitely got imprints that I trust and will read a book just because it belongs to that imprint. I also have specific editors that I trust. But all of this is kind of inside baseball for the average reader.

    • Editors are really the best way for me to find a match with an imprint (but very inside baseball-y, which is why I didn’t really mention it in the post). I find it kind of strange that editors don’t get more credit on the books themselves, because being able to follow a specific editor is actually a really great way to find someone who shares your taste.

  • Susan W

    I, like most people, get totally confused with imprints. I have no clue which publisher they belong to or if that even matters. Maybe the imprint is more telling? I should keep track, to see if there are any strong correlations to books I love. A very interesting post. I would be interested to see if the books I really didn’t like match up with imprints of books I loved or are they all from the same publisher/imprint, that I should just be avoiding?

    • I’ve definitely had some books I love/hate come from within the same imprint, but since imprints are like subsections of larger houses they are meant to be more specific in what they focus on and if you find one that matches your specific interests, I’ve found it can lead to better luck.

  • Jennine G.

    Great post! What’s the reason for so many different imprints of a publisher anyway?

    • I think they’re just meant to be specialized corners of the larger publishing house, which is why finding one that matches your interests can be helpful :)

  • Lindsey Stefan

    You are absolutely right, Shannon. Now I’m itching to go rearrange all my shelves by imprint so I can see which ones I love best…

  • Amy Sachs

    Blogging has definitely made me more aware of publishers and imprints in general, but still not enough to notice a pattern in if I’m reading some more than others – Someday!

  • I’ve had consistent good luck with Mulholland and FSG, which I never would have even heard of without blogging.

  • I’ve just started tracking imprints this year, so I’m hoping I’ll see some patterns jumping out too. One thing I have noticed is that Harpercollins has been advertising a lot of interesting nonfiction in their monthly newsletter, so I’ve been reading a lot more of their books than last year.

  • ThomasHogglestock

    The only ones I recognize on a regular basis are the small ones like NYRB Classics, Europa, Persephone, old Penguins, the big boys all run together in my head.

  • Diane D

    I love Penguin/Europa, NYRB, WW Norton, Riverhead, Knopf and Algonquin for often different and well done literary fiction. Sadly, Algonquin is often not downloadable to Kindle though

  • For some reason, I’m still thinking about this post, and I actually just made a spreadsheet that lists my favorite books and their publishers and counts how many books I’ve loved from each imprint (because nerd). I wanted to see if the imprints I perceive as my favorites actually have high numbers of favorite books, and what I found was kind of surprising! Out off the 33 books I consider favorites (since 2013), 10 are from Little, Brown, 10 are from Knopf/Doubleday, 4 from Harper, 4 from Scribner, etc.

    I think I’m going to try to keep these results in mind when browsing Edelweiss, and pay more attention to imprints that have served me well in the past. I’m wondering if making a similar spreadsheet with books I DIDN’T like would help me figure out which books/imprints to avoid, but making a list of bad books seems like a depressing use of time :P

    • I’m kind of doing something similar this year with my spreadsheet where I’m running the data on my star ratings and imprints together to see which imprints are most likely to have a high rating…it would be nice to have more than just this year, though!

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