Top 5 Wednesday (check it out here!) focuses a lot on dustjackets and synopsis and everything that gets a book into your hands. However they’ve never done a topic before discussing the industry itself, aka our favorite publishing houses. And they’re pretty important too! So in an effort to discover where I’m most likely to choose books from, I went through my TBR and Read list. The findings were pretty unexpected, to say the least. With 100 books being taken into account, 64 of them were pushed out by different publishers (keeping in mind that I counted each imprint individually). And though the Big Five definitely dominated the pool, I was surprised with how many books came from houses I’d never even heard of. Talk about mind blown. As a wannabe published writer, it was pretty inspiring to see just how many “homes” your book can have. So without further ado…let’s cut to the publishers.
Balzer + Bray
Balzer + Bray was created in 2008 by Alessandra Balzer and Donna Bray, after both left Hyperion Books for Children. Their vision for the burgeoning imprint was shared by Harper Collins, and a partnership in producing great books was crafted.They specialize in both children and YA books, with some noteworthy titles being Dumplin’, Bone Gap, and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Recently they even made the news, winning a thirteen house auction for the highly anticipated The Hate U Give. And, personally, I think the novel is in great hands. B + B has a tendency to craft stories with rich voices, many of which tend to push the envelope and spark conversation. Fitting, since in an interview Ms. Balzer and Ms. Bray said they’re looking for “original and arresting” perspectives, and thought provoking themes. I can’t wait to see the diverse stories B + B sheds light on in the coming years.
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
When I was reading a lot of middle grade novels, aka 2015, Delacorte was my one stop for finding a novel I was sure to love. Though they also publish in YA (The Maze Runner is their brain child), I think it’s their books aimed at ages 9-12 that really steal the show. They’re one of the original publishers for young readers, being an imprint of Dell Publishing (now Random House) since 1925. In fact, you can thank them for The Giver, thereby trailblazing in one of the most successful genres of recent memory. And up until a few years ago, aspiring authors could get the chance to be published, thanks to their tremendously successful Dell Yearling Writing Contest. But more than any of that, what keeps me coming back to their books is the depth each story possesses. Never do I feel like I’m reading a “kids” book. Instead I’m transported to an exploration of universal topics like love and acceptance, written for humans of a slightly younger age. It’s a delicate art, and I wish more publishers could master it.
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Random House, holding the lofty title of “world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher”. Woo. That’s a mouthful. They’re one of the oldest publishers for children and, alongside Delacorte Press, present Random House with a stacked lineup.Being the force behind one of my all time favorite novels, The Book Thief, I felt I had to include them on this list…less Markus Zusak never publishes another book again. As far as their middle grade offerings are concerned, the success of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder can be owed to them, as well as the exciting movie adaptation being made for it. And with 60-70 new titles releasing each year, I’d say it’s safe to declare that Alfred A. Knopf BFYR has many exciting years ahead of them.
Simon & Schuster Teen
To All the Boys I’ve loved Before. Love & Gelato. The Unexpected Everything. All extremely popular. All released by Simon & Schuster Teen. And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Along with all the awesome titles they publish, S&ST is also responsible for Riveted. This digital book content site has been around since June 2009, and has been winning over readers ever since. After undergoing a major revision earlier this year, it has a whole new look reflective of new industry trends. Speaking of that, Simon & Schuster has launched a major campaign targeting the lack of diversity in publishing, most notably creating Salaam Reads- an imprint dedicated to stories featuring Muslim voices. And, personally, I couldn’t be more excited to see this pioneering move carry over into their teen imprints.
Harper Teen is an imprint of Harper Collins and, as the name implies, publishes exclusively for teens. However unlike Balzer + Bray, who publish a variety of YA novels, Harper Teen is dedicated (almost) solely to contemporaries. Their themes are always innovative and their covers practically a work of art. Perhaps most notable to them is recent book pioneer Epic Reads, their brain child which has swept the YA community by storm. It’s fun and innovative, while making quality books more accessible to readers than ever. I strongly encourage you to check it out, dedicating at least a few minutes to the infinite blog posts, quizzes, and other mischief going on the site. Harper Collins is arguably the most powerful of the Big Five US publishers, but their teen counterpart(s) is a powerhouse in its own right.
What are your favorite publishing houses? Any that you always read book from? Let me know in the comments!