Thanks to a new pop-up shop, book publishing is alive and well in the Elm City this week.
Publication Studio, an independent publishing group, launched a temporary storefront at 196 College St. on Monday. Across from the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, the storefront will be open until Saturday, Nov. 19. Co-sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Orange Street gallery ArtSpace, Publication Studio’s brief stay in New Haven gives writers, artists and visitors alike a chance to publish their own books on a drop-in basis.
Unlike most publishing houses, Publication Studio adheres to a “print on demand” philosophy, defying mass-market strategy by printing and binding most of its books to order, said co-founders Patricia No and Matthew Stadler. Since its founding in 2009, Publication Studio has sold over 12,000 books and published over 100 new titles. With a PDF file of the text, employees can print and bind a book in minutes, Stadler said.
Originally based in Portland, Ore., additional studios now exist in Boston, Berkeley, Vancouver and Toronto. Stadler and No said they see Publication Studio as a way to publish existing and new works they liked at very low costs. To further support the authors and give the book a life of its own, the founders said they emphasize launch parties and community events, such as daily demonstrations this week at their College Street location.
“We try to make it festive, because that’s the best atmosphere for the books and the culture we care about,” Stadler added.
With the advent of online technology and e-book readers, many have predicted that the printed word will soon become obsolete. But Stadler said he believes that electronic and print resources occupy distinct niches.
“The material book is really great, but it neither replaces nor threatens the digital book … It’s like the bicycle. The bicycle didn’t disappear when cars were invented,” he said.
Timothy Young, curator of Modern Books & Literature at the Beinecke Library and longtime friend of Stadler, said he has followed Publication Studio from its very beginning. Having ordered numerous Publication Studio books for the Beinecke, Young said he decided to bring the project to New Haven after visiting their Portland studio and seeing their products and community engagement firsthand.
Once he confirmed that the Beincke could fund the project, Young approached executive director of ArtSpace Helen Kauder, who secured the space on College Street, which is operated by the Co-Op Center for Creativity, an organization that connects local high schoolers with professionals in artistic fields. Once the pop-up store is vacated, the printing equipment will go to ArtSpace, Young said, in the hopes of maintaining Publishing Studio’s legacy in New Haven.
Classes from the Co-op High School and Yale have already made use of the studio’s resources. On Monday, professor Jessica Helfand ’82 GRD ’89 brought her freshman seminar, Studies in Visual Biography, to the storefront to print an anthology of class work.
“It’s great for them to see an experiment with a storefront in New Haven, with themselves as published authors,” Helfand said. “It brings up the question, ‘What is publishing?’ and shows that you don’t have to be sold in Barnes and Noble to be a published author.”
Matthew Stadler will lecture on “The Ends of the Book: Authors, Readers, Public Spaces” on Thursday afternoon at the Beinecke library.