June 8, 2007
Publish/Perish, Kiss Me/Kill Me
Dieter Roelstraete, in issue 12 of the journal Dot Dot Dot, extends Martin Heidegger's description of books as "letters to friends":
Anyone who has ever "made" a book will immediately grasp the depth of feeling communicated in this admittedly romantic view of the book publishing business. No matter how strained the relationship between writer, editor, translator, designer, publisher, printer and book-seller can become, there is no denying the intimacy that is engendered by poring over the book as a labor of love that has required the "befriending," however formal and economically dictated, of so many different parties. By their very nature, books are collaborative efforts in a cultural space that continues to be dominated by individualism, conflated egos, and conflicts of solitary interests.
I should say lest you think Is Dave taking a class or something? that I didn't find this quotation by myself, nor did I deduce by myself that Heidegger (whoever that is) had anything to do with it. No, this quotation was forwarded to me by my colleague Matt Smith, a designer here at InterVarsity Press. It's a nice lived example of how things work around here, and how things in publishing work in general: insights come from all corners and contribute to the final product. And though there are days when the corners inhabited by designers, marketers, editors and authors seem like the four corners of a boxing ring, on our best days we all kiss and make up something uniquely collaborative, truly insightful, a conversation really worth joining.
Guess I'm feeling sappy today. I heart InterVarsity Press.