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Sourcebooks NEXT.

Sourcebooks Next Blog

We’re at a historic point in the transformation the book.

Ebooks, reading devices, retailers and e-tailers, software and apps, and all the cool things we haven’t even imagined yet are changing the face of reading, entertainment and learning. Sourcebooks Next is our blog looking not from the perspective of pundit or prognosticator, but from the perspective of a publisher deeply engaged in the workings of the transformation. Please feel free to join us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

If you want a whirlwind of a life, then I recommend working as a salesperson for a book publisher’s gift division. Not only is it an amazing job, but twice a year, we have gift show season. For six to eight weeks in January/February and June to August, every customer you might want to see goes to all of the major gift shows to see what’s new—which means you get to spend six to eight weeks traveling around the country, showing off all the great books and gift products they’ll love.

Such was my life for the past three weeks, attending as many gift shows as I could and meeting as many customers and readers as possible! 

First stop:

 GiftShow1 Atlanta

Atlanta boasts the largest gift show and gift mart in the country.  If you are a gift customer or a supplier and you aren’t there, you are missing out. Trust me when I say I was there (Tuesday through Sunday)!

Featured in the RPM Gifts and Greetings Showroom, my reps and I met with hundreds of people and talked books, wrote orders, and discussed future opportunities and titles.

 RPM Floor Awesome display on the RPM showroom floor

But Atlanta wasn’t the only show on my list.  So giddy up, cowboys, because my next stop was…

 Welcome to Dallas!

Where hospitality was high…

 A warm welcome

And everyone was wearing cowboy hats.

 GiftShow6 HeidiHat

Including the dinosaurs!

 GiftShow7 Dinosaur

I spent two days with our reps, daniel*richards.

 GiftShow8 danielr

I was able to work with new customers and get everyone excited about all of our new titles, include our new series, Love Is All Around, and our Keep Calm and Color On coloring books.

 The Show Floor

But Dallas was left in the dust as I slid into Las Vegas…

 Welcome to Las Vegas!

…and touched base at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show

 GiftShow11 Sports

This was a new show for my coworker, Peter Vanaria, and me, where we launched our new line of MLB activity books to a new type of customer—sporting goods stores!

But while in Vegas, I made sure to visit our rep group California Marketing Association at one of the fast-growing gift marts, the Las Vegas Market.

 Las Vegas Market

There, the customers streamed through all the way until the end of the show. (The East Coast blizzard caused many customers to arrive later than expected, but they made the most of it.) Everyone excitedly perused our latest line of calendars (I am a cat lady; of course I’m going to show everyone our Call Me Cat Lady wall calendar) and our wide variety of gift and children’s titles.

 Lovely in Las Vegas

Overall, these three weeks have been fantastic. All the customers, new contacts, new trends, ideas, and places have really geared me up for a fantastic 2016…though, I think first…a nap...

 A little catnap...

Liz Otte

National Accounts Manager—Gift and Regional


Wednesday, February 10, 2016


We were all saddened to hear of the passing of Hillel Black, our executive editor here at Sourcebooks for nearly 10 years.

Hillel’s impact on the company that Sourcebooks became cannot be understated. It was Hill’s deep love for authors that helped form a cornerstone for the sort of publishing company we sought to create. As the former publisher of Macmillan and editor-in-chief at William Morrow, he joined what was then a small publishing house trafficking entirely in nonfiction. Simply put, Hillel Black put us on the map.

Hillel Black with Alfred Blumrosen

Indeed, Hillel is the reason we have both the Sourcebooks Landmark fiction imprint and a New York City office. Soon after he joined us in the year 2000, Hill was here in Naperville to visit and took Dominique out for dinner. I received a call at home that night from Dominique: “I think I just committed us to starting a fiction program,” she sheepishly told me. To be frank, it was a huge risk.

But Hillel would get it done, famously asking Dominique over sushi what kind of novels she’d like to publish. “Writers like Michael Malone,” she said. Hill being Hill located one of Michael’s old books, found the agent in the acknowledgments, and soon thereafter Sourcebooks Landmark was publishing Michael’s first new novel in more than a decade, placing it on the New York Times bestsellers list. As we’ve recently reported, Sourcebooks Landmark had its best year ever in 2015, and 2016 is off to a rollicking start. Hillel got it all off the ground and would be delighted.

Hillel’s care for books and authors was unparalleled, and his drive to find the next big book was never-ending. He was a mentor to me and to many others here. Several of us have been commiserating today about his phrases of wisdom that have become vocabulary around here – a “publishing prophet” is just one way of explaining his impact. Go for it, ask a long-timer, they’ll have a Hillel story to tell you.

Most importantly, though, Hillel was a dear, dear friend. His was a kind and genuine soul. He will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Todd Stocke

VP Editorial Director


Hillel with Todd and Deb  Hillel and Dominique

At left, Hillel celebrates his retirement with Todd Stocke, Tom Murphy, and Deb Werksman. At right, Hillel and Dominique cut the cake and drink champagne to commemorate his 10 wonderful years with Sourcebooks. Above, Hillel and Alfred Blumrosen, author of Slave Nation, enjoy a drink and lively conversation at Sourcebooks' 20th birthday party.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

We are so excited to share that the brand-new sensation The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Spivald, out just this past week, is an American Booksellers Association National Bestseller!

ABA National Bestseller

And it is making an impact regionally as well:

  •        #3 on Midwest Independent Booksellers Association
  •        #6 on the New England Independent Booksellers Association
  •        #6 on Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
  •        #8 on Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association
  •        #14 on Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Association

A huge thank YOU to the booksellers around the country who have come to love this book and are sharing it with readers. Booksellers gave their first stamp of approval by making The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend the #1 Indie Next pick for January, and now they continue to share the love by displaying it prominently, and talking about it with customers. 


Friday, January 22, 2016


With authors and ARCs in tow, the Sourcebooks library team headed to Boston for the American Library Association 2016 Midwinter Meeting.  We love library shows! They are an opportunity to chat with forward-thinking, enthusiastic, book-loving librarians who all share the same purpose—to get the right books in the hands of the right readers.  We packed the five days with events, giveaways, and signings and were blown away by the excitement surrounding our authors and titles.  Here’s a glimpse of some of the fun:



On Thursday, marketing specialist Beth Oleniczak joined more than twenty publishers to kick off the weekend events by presenting forthcoming kids/YA and adult lists to a room of more than one hundred librarians at the Boston Public Library Book Buzz. (Check out #BookBuzzMA on Twitter for highlights from the day!)


The Sourcebooks booth, ready to go on Friday night for the opening reception!


Sourcebooks Fire author Cori McCarthy signed ARCs of her forthcoming contemporary mixed-format novel You Were Here and was so excited to hear from librarians who were fans of her previous book, Breaking Sky!


Sourcebooks Jabberwocky “Queen of Tween” Anna Staniszewski, a seasoned Bostonian, joined us at the booth to help spread the word about her superfun Switched at First Kiss series and sign copies of the first book, I’m With Cupid.

ALAMidwinter5  ALAMidwinter6

Debut author Marieke Nijkamp celebrated the January 5 release of her harrowing, hopeful novel This Is Where It Ends at a variety of events throughout the show. Here, she joins authors (from left to right) Malinda Lo (Adaptation), Kody Keplinger (The DUFF), Adam Silvera (More Happy than Not), and Heidi Heilig (The Girl from Everywhere) on the conference’s incredibly insightful—and best-attended—panel, We Need Diverse Books. Read Publishers Weekly’s recap of the lively conversation here. On the right, librarians eagerly anticipating the WNDB panel!


At the Booklist/AAP sponsored Read ’n Rave program, a panel of enthusiastic children’s and teen collection development librarians roamed the exhibit hall floor and highlighted their top picks for galleys to grab at the show. We were thrilled to hear panelist Joslyn Jones, children’s services supervisor at the Bowie Branch of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (MD), call out three Sourcebooks Fire titles—This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul, and Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach.


Like the rest of the conference exhibitors and attendees, we woke up bright and early Monday morning for a good seat at the Youth Media Awards!  What an amazing year it’s been for children’s books! Congratulations to all of the amazing titles honored this year—and a special congratulations to David A. Adler (author of Sourcebooks Jabberwocky’s Danny’s Doodles series) on his Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for Don’t Throw It to Mo! (Penguin Young Readers).

Thank you to all of the librarians who stopped by the Sourcebooks booth; we’ll see you again in April for PLA 2016!

Beth, Margaret, and Alex


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