Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Favourite publishers

Do you have a favourite publishing house -- one that puts out books that you constantly find yourself wanting to read? If so, who? And, what books have they published that you've loved? (question courtesy of MizB)

I'm a couple of days late with this, and was just going to skip it since I didn't have time to post at the beginning of the week, but then I was curious to see which publishing houses showed up more often on my shelves.

A quick scan of my stuffed bookshelves reveals quite a variety of publishers, but I suppose I do have a few favourites. I usually look to Penguin for classics, their Black classics do look so nice lined up together on the shelf.

I'm also a big fan of Hesperus Press, who focus on short, lesser-known classics and they have such gorgeous covers. I've only read a few Hesperus Press titles so far but every time I get a new catalogue from them, I want them all!
With a similar focus on lesser-known classics, as well as some of the famous ones, Oneworld Classics has become a recent favourite too, due to books like The King's Bride by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Along with its sister publishing house, Alma Books. The book I'm reading right now, Beyond the Blossoming Fields, is an Alma Books title and I'm really enjoying it a lot.

Ultimately though I choose a book for a combination of reasons, the most important being that the story itself appeals to me. Then the cover might also have a little bit of sway, but other than a few niche publishers like those above, I rarely consider the publishing house when purchasing a book. So if I have more of one publisher represented on my shelves than another it's not a deliberate choice on my part, and I'm guessing that I have books from most, if not all, the major publishing houses. However, of the big name publishers, I do seem to have a fondness for Vintage titles (a division of Random House), as Vintage US, Vintage Canada, Vintage UK, and Vintage International are all well represented.

And if I look at the last 10 books I've bought, 5/10 or 50% are imprints or divisions of Random House.
The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter - Kodansha International
Real World by Natsuo Kirino - Vintage International (Random House)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery - Gallic Books (first published in French by Éditions Gallimard)
What the Birds See by Sonya Hartnett - Candlewick Press (first published by Penguin Australia)
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano - Doubleday (Random House)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows - Dial Press (Random House)
Looking for Alaska by John Green - Speak (Penguin)
Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir & Damien Lewis - Hodder & Stoughton
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak - Bantam (Random House)
The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz - Vintage (Random House)

Interesting question. It won't change my buying habits but I'll have to pay more attention in the future.
Do you have any favourite publishers?

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.


  1. An interesting question! I used to like Berkley for it's prime crime selection, and Fontana for the same reason. But I find as more conglomerates buy what used to be separate publishing houses, they are losing what distinguished them, in the main. I mostly look for books that interest me anyway, not just because a publisher puts them out! although Subterranean do wonderful science fiction publishing, and Persephone does old - vintage? - women's classics, or books that should be considered women's classics. That catalogue makes me want to buy everything in it!

    I really want to find a copy of Looking for Alaska, and I've been hearing good things about Elegance of the Hedgehog. I own the Guernsey LIterary society book, I still have to read it! I hope you enjoy your books.

  2. I'm definitely a fan of SimonPulse and Harperteen :-)

  3. I'm a big fan of the Vintage Classics series, similar to One World and Penguin and with very nice covers!

  4. Hm, I'm not sure if I have a favourite publisher. I do like Penguin, and when it comes to comics I like First Second, Fantasgraphics and Oni Press. That's pretty much it :P

  5. I tend to pick up whatever I can from Persephone books, Virago Modern Classics and Felony & Mayhem mysteries. All focus on getting older books back into the reading population's awareness.

  6. Susan - Thanks, I'm looking forward to reading all of them. If only there were more hours in the day!
    I have yet to buy a Persephone book but I love what they do. The reason I haven't is because I just know that once I start I'll want all of them! :P

    The Book Girl - There sure seem to be a lot of great YA books these days.

    mariel - I forgot about Vintage Classics. For some reason I don't have many of their classics but they do have some nice covers.

    Nymeth - I'm not too familiar with comics publishers although I do have a First Second title. :)

    Sam - With all the new books being published it's great that some publishers focus on getting older books back in circulation.


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