The stormy skies of COVID-19, combined with latent racial issues coming to the forefront of current affairs, makes Page Street’s regular business enterprise seem trivial in some ways. We have taken this moment to work on some important bigger initiatives. We have made a concerted effort to be more diverse on many levels. Internally, we are working to hire more diverse voices by advertising on new job boards and in different places to get more candidates of color, and from the LGBTQ+ community, among other diverse backgrounds. Management is dedicated, on an ongoing basis, to implementing new and better ways to make everyone comfortable in the workplace, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. I am confident we don’t have blatant racism in our office, but nonetheless we have fortified our policies and clarified that any such action, purposeful or inadvertent, whether it is using an offensive racial term or having a symbol in the background of a video call that carries a clear message counter to inclusion is grounds for dismissal. We have been hiring more authors from diverse backgrounds, riding a natural wave of our thoughtful staff’s reaction to the painful things happening in the news. This is a work in progress; we have always been interested in expanding the diversity on staff and in our author base, but now have an even more determined call to action, and our success in this endeavor will only make Page Street stronger.
The pandemic has not slowed down our publishing program. We have been lucky to publish titles in some of the stay-at-home categories doing well, including kids activities, crafts and cooking; and some of the best books on those subjects like Artisanal Sourdough Made Simple, Watercolor with Me in the Forest, and Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials. Sales have continued at a good pace; the slowdown from brick and mortar stores temporary closing has been substantially mitigated by an increase in backlist sales online.
At every level, the quality of the books we seek at Page Street—reaching for a high bar in every title we publish—is what carries the day. We are able to continue to produce books at the high level we expect while working from home full time until the slow moving Covid cloud passes. This is a testament to the strength, smarts and adaptability of our staff.
Page Street will publish nearly 150 titles next year, with high-quality, non-fiction, how-to books leading the charge. Cooking is our strongest category and broadest list, including gourmet recipes, specialty diets, cooking on specialty kitchen equipment like the Instant Pot® or Big Green Egg®, or niche topics like our bestselling La Vida Verde (vegan Mexican food), Paleo Baking or The Carb Manager’s Keto Diet Cookbook. Kids’ activity books are some of our strongest sellers, including the backlist bestseller 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments. The arts and crafts category has grown substantially with strong books like Seamless Knit Sweaters in Two Weeks and Watercolor with Me in the Forest (now a series of four titles). We have a growing children’s picture book list that is getting rave reviews in the press and more than their fair share of stars from places like Kirkus, School Library Journal and PW. Our YA list is an exciting and growing operation with not only a lot of starred reviews but many titles near the bestseller list, possibly on the brink of a breakthrough.
The strength of our authors and their content is the beating heart of the company. Our foundation consists of books with high-quality information from experts in their fields—thoughtfully edited and designed—then printed on premium paper with top-tier color reproduction. For each project, we carefully select a standout photographer. Whether it is one from our regular freelance crew or an author-photographer, each photo needs to inspire and excite the reader.
Our editorially-driven, diverse and independent publishing operation is complemented by our distribution through Macmillan, a Big Five publisher with a strong corporate sales force, which gives us top-of-the-market distribution. We have sales channels open to all the major book outlets, as well as mass merchandisers like Target, and special sales accounts such as West Elm, Crate & Barrel, and occasionally QVC, Nordstrom, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
At the end of the day, it’s about the books. After caring for a manuscript for so long through the publishing process, what drives everyone in the office is holding a freshly-printed book in our hand and being proud of the work, and creating something we want to share with our friends.
We hope you like the books, too.
Page Street Publishing Co. publishes nearly one hundred and fifty original titles a year and is distributed by Macmillan everywhere except Canada, where Manda does the sales and PGC handles the distribution. Each year we try to help local environmental causes, and donate a small portion of our profits to local charity groups including The Trustees. We use only sustainable paper vendors and print with environmentally-friendly, soy-based ink. Page Street Publishing Co. was founded in 2012 and is located just outside of Boston.