From Words Without Borders comes news of a startup publishing venture, And Other Stories. Its focus is contemporary fiction in translation, and its editorial decision-making will be collaborative. Spanish-language and Portuguese-language reading forums have been set up at LibraryThing, where readers, writers and translators can evaluate and discuss titles for potential publication next year. While there’s an advisory board, the fora themselves are open to any interested parties.
At a time when everyone is scrambling to find ways to put the available social media to good use, this seems like a smart approach. It’s not as random as it first sounds; my experience with online book discussion groups is that they tend to self-adjust in terms of who’s interested in serious discussion and who’s not. They end up with a diversity you might not necessarily find in a room full of hires, but have a decent consensus of taste and still manage to cooperate. The concept is an interesting blend of technology and grassroots—both groups offer to share books by mail for those who can’t get them otherwise—and it will be interesting to see where it goes. And Other Stories doesn’t seem to have a website yet, but presumably information can be gotten through the LibraryThing group moderators.