Of all the independent presses Like Fire holds in high regard, Dzanc Books is one of our favorites. Is it hokey to refer to an organization in this day and age as a class act? Because Dzanc deserves the distinction across the board, from its catalog to its production values—those buttery covers!—to founder Dan Wickett’s Emerging Writers Network. Don’t get me started; I’ll just embarrass myself. And here’s one more reason: Dzanc’s rEprint Series, a collection of backlist, out of print, and as of yet un-digitally-negotiated titles from a variety of great writers, released in multi-platform eBook format. Authors like Jonathan Baumbach, Pinckney Benedict, Stephen Dixon, Abby Frucht, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Graham Jones, and J. Robert Lennon are represented here, getting the chance for some of their older books to gain a whole new following and, not incidentally, a neat 50/50 cut on eBook royalties:
This series originates out of a belief that many of these titles did not have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential audiences in the time of their original publication, and that a second chance for achieving a wider readership is long overdue. By bringing them back into print in widely-available electronic formats, Dzanc hope to restart the critical conversations around these books, and to get them into the hands of the enthusiastic readers they each deserve.
Dzanc has always published eBooks concurrently with new print editions, and maintains a refreshing lack of drama about the whole enterprise. So far there are nearly 500 titles with the series, which should all be out by the end of this year. As Dzanc author Dawn Raffel tells Publishing Perspectives,
Dzanc’s strategy of acquiring e-rights to literary titles is brilliant; they’ve found a hole in the marketplace. Traditional publishers have been slow to see the value not only of e-publishing but e-marketing, with the indies way out ahead in the blogosphere. This has allowed Dzanc and other independent presses to pick up some great books, not just for reprint but for original publication…. The big publishers won’t take a risk, but the independent presses will—and some of those risks will pay off.
We hope it pays off for Dzanc, but in the meantime it certainly does for the rest of us.