First, can we all just agree to love Soft Skull? I do. I know they were acquired by Winton Shoemaker Co. last year after the whole disgusting PGW fall-out, but as the inimitable and perhaps even visionary Richard Nash said at the time, "Soft Skull is not no longer independent. Had I won the lottery and bought Counterpoint from Perseus, instead of Charlie Winton buying Counterpoint and then Soft Skull, we would not have ceased to be independent." I don't fully get that but I know Nash is still a champion of independent publishing in every way.
I am grateful to him most recently for pointing me to a wonderful series of posts at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind on large corporate publishers and their many imprints. This Sarah Weinman is doing a remarkable job breaking down all kinds of information, so I heartily recommend spending some time reading about who owns what and how. It's invaluable work!
I'd also like to point out this tidbit of information about the horror show that is Sarah Palin. Yes this is going around amongst us bookish types, but it's important to broadcast:
[John] Stein [admittedly, incumbent mayor of Wallinga whom she beat in election] says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
For anyone the least bit irritated by this - surely anyone reading this?! - check out the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. They do amazing work, including the defense of librarians getting intimidated, and deserve any bit of attention they get.
I don't know how much more Palin coverage I can stand, so I may have to look away for a moment... and check out Sarah Weinman's fine research!