Friday, August 31, 2012

A Little Q+A with Nicole Baxter and Connie Kuhnz: BookMobile

Bookmobile does a little bit(or a lot) of a lot of different things related to books. Besides their current jobs, they both have covered numerous other parts of the book world.

How long have you worked at Bookmobile and what book world positions did you previously have?

NB: I'm Manager of Marketing & Publisher Services at BookMobile and I've worked here for 14 years. Previously, I was at Hungry Mind Press, an intern at Milkweed, a bookseller at the Borders in Uptown Minneapolis, and a bunch of academic press and bookstore part-part-part time jobs in Bloomington, IN, where I went to college.

CK: I'm a production coordinator for the Bookmobile's Design and Publishing Services department. I've worked here for 6 years; previously employed as a bookseller at six different bookstores including Hungry Mind, and Rag and Bone Books, which was my husband's store. I've also worked as a key-liner/typesetter and as a proofreader.

How many books are published yearly by Bookmobile?

NB: BookMobile works with over 500 publishers and we print A LOT of books. In short, BookMobile provides: short run digital printing; automatic replenishment programs; true print-on-demand; Direct-to-Consumer services; eBook conversion; app development; website development; design and typesetting; content management; and eBook and print distribution.

CK: My department handles production for a variety of publishers including Milkweed Editions and Graywolf Press. Each publisher uses our services a bit differently, but we have a wealth to offer: cover and interior design, layout, distribution... We also convert and distribute eBooks and the company is now offering app and web development services.

If there is such a thing as a normal workday what does it look like?

NB: Me sitting at my desk and emailing all day. I get a lot of email. I do quotes, answer questions, track jobs through production, write blog entries (, and market our services. Oh and I look at Twitter a lot(@OkToPrint).

CK: On any given day I may be working on an interior text design for one book, laying out another, and entering corrections to the files for a third. I contact offset printers for pricing, send files back and forth between printers and publishers (lots of time on email), and try to keep schedules on track.

Are there times when, after working with books all day, relaxing with a book that night doesn't sound relaxing?

NB: Never, really! A long time ago I tried doing editorial work and I didn't like it. But I think I was born to do book production. I frequently forget my mother's birthday, but I'll remember a book title we printed three years ago.

CK: No, I always love reading; my work on laying out books doesn't allow for a beginning-to-end read, so often I'll get caught up in the drama of chapter 22, and have to go back and read the whole thing once the book is in print.

Technology is killing the book? Or helping more people have access to writing and publishing them?

NB: Absolutely not. I think it helps more people to have access to more books, and different books. I like all the small presses that have come about, because it's easier to get books out there. One of my favorite new presses is Atticus Books--they put out great fiction (and yes, we print them).

CK: It is definitely not killing the book, just adding more forms and more choice. So far book-as-object people have nothing to fear, and eBook readers can expect more selection. More writers are able to bypass traditional gatekeepers and have access to getting their work out there, for better or for worse. Print-on-demand may allow publishers to provide more and better content with their savings.

Silly dinner party question. Three writers, living or dead, that you get to dine with. Who are they?

NB:Lorrie Moore, Virginia Woolf, and Donald Barthelme. All at the same time please. Lorrie and Donald would cheer up Virginia.

CK: I have to skip this one, the idea is a bit overwhelming(maybe we could just do lunch?)

1 comment:

  1. These are fascinating insights to a part of the book world I can't even imagine.