May 11, 2005

"Momentous"new philanthropic effort to support independent literary publishers . . .


In a unique cooperative effort, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses will join forces with venture capitalist Jim Bildner and his new Literary Ventures Fund to form a new company that will provide a “level marketing playing field” so that “exceptional literary works from small presses can thrive in the marketplace.” As a press release details, ” Using a venture philanthropy model, the LVF will support small presses book by book, granting both funds and expertise.” Explains Bildner, “In the current environment, many of us believe that if great writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Flannery O’Connor were beginning their careers today, they would have difficulty finding a publisher who could afford to nurture their careers from the beginning. The largest commercial houses dominate the book-publishing world; while at the same time, support for literary works and not-for-profit presses continues to decline. It’s vital that literary works have a new channel to help find their way into the marketplace. We see our role as being a force to do just that.” Says the executive director of the effort, Jeffrey Lependorf, “LVF has the potential to change the landscape of how literary books reach the hands of readers . . . . It’s a momentous occasion for literary book publishing.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.