It’s certainly not news that huge numbers of e-book-only publishing companies are sprouting up on a regular basis these days.  But when long-established and staunchly literary publishing houses begin announcing e-book-only ventures of their own … well, that’s news. And it doesn’t get much more tweed-jacket literary than New York Review Books (NYRB), the 13-year-old publishing house operated by The New York Review of Books.

NYRB recently announced the upcoming launch of its fourth imprint, NYRB Lit, which will be releasing e-book formats of classic narrative nonfiction and contemporary fiction titles. The books in the imprint’s first-year catalog all appear to have been works that were very well-received by critics upon publication, but not necessarily noticed by the public at large. Perhaps NYRB Lit is assuming that the absence of an e-book option had something to do with each title’s initial lack of success?

Also worth noting: The imprint’s proverbial ship will be steered by scholar and author Sue Halpern. In an interview with Library Journal‘s Barbara Hoffert, Halpern explained that “she got tired of hearing that the brave new digital world would take away from readers and writers. ‘As a writer I don’t want to hear that,’ she explained. ‘Maybe the electronic platform can be used to our advantage.'”

The imprint plans to publish ten titles per year, with the inaugural offering coming in Sept. 2012 from the highly-acclaimed British novelist Lindsay Clarke.

[Thanks to David H. Rothman for the tip!]






  1. The exclusionary aspect of single format release can be viewed in terms of the book market overall. My sense was that screen and print book markets sectors have been fairly separated with incentives to dual format publication. Perhaps we are now seeing a macro-genre of screen book reading emerge more clearly at the same time that a macro-genre of print reading distills its own smaller market.

    So far an equivalence of the screen and print versions of a single title has been assumed. This simple sameness was always a debatable premise. What if the market separations for screen and print preference are actually telling us something about fundamental product differences? Perhaps story line content flows well on screen and polemic of scholarly research works well in print.

  2. Dan, first of all, thanks for alerting Telereaders to the NYRB Lit series. Just one clarification: we’re publishing books that have never been published in the US, and that have been bypassed by traditional publishing houses which have not been especially receptive to literary fiction or to works in translation for the obvious economic reasons. NYRB Classics, which is another part of the NY Review books, has been publishing electronic versions of their books for the past couple of years. NYRB Lit are e-only and contemporary and we’re only putting out 10 a year.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail