March 20, 2020

A Message to Our Readers, Friends, and Colleagues


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

In this astounding time we find ourselves in, we wanted to update you on the status of our company, on our goals and strategies, and share as many good hang-in-there vibes as we can. We’ll keep it brief, because we know you’re socked in, too, although we wouldn’t mind hearing back from you that you’re okay.

Anyway, first of all, this is to let you know that Melville House is still in business, and plans to be FOREVER. We are fortunate to have some formidable business partners—such as our distributor, Penguin Random House—in addition to a killer staff and a truly special roster of authors. As well, we’re buoyed by how our brothers and sisters in the bookselling world have stepped up to the moment. They’re giving us hope as well as idea after idea.

As a company founded with a mission—to fight the rise of a repressive right and the smothering impact of late-stage capitalism, represented by a president, George Bush, who blundered us into catastrophic disaster—we feel what we’re doing is more important than ever before, and we’re more determined to do it than ever before. And as any small business owner will tell you, running a small business requires nerves of steel, so we’re good to go in the sang-froid department, too.

The staff has been working at home for over a week now. We talk multiple times a day—who knew video conferencing could be even slightly enjoyable?—and morale is high. Ideas are sparking on how to overcome the array of new, unbelievable obstacles out there. Melville House does not have a reputation for being an innovative company for nothing.

And our goals are simple:

The goals may be simple, but of course getting to them will not be. The situation is as dire as it can be. The supply chain is breaking down, libraries and schools are closing, and the retail world is shutting down—and with it, our income. We don’t know how long that’s going to last. It’s going to take all the resources we have, and then some, to get through this. It’s a time for heart and innovation, persistence and wit, inspired resourcefulness and unflagging determination. Lucky for us: We’ve got the team.

And what’s more, everyone in the industry is in the same mess. Well, good company, if you ask us.

Which is why we’re confident: We will survive this to find ourselves in a new world. But the point is we will survive it, and who knows but that new world could be a better place.

Stay safe everyone. We need you.

Valerie & Dennis