Spreading The Translated Word

Posted by - Admin / June 22nd, 2010

Spreading the Translated Word

I just learned about this really interesting project, the Japanese Literature Publishing Project (JLPP), that promotes Japanese literature to a number of foreign countries. Sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, JLPP has been around since 2002 and has so far been behind the publication of 34 Japanese titles translated into English. JLPP selects about 10 books per year, and the titles are translated into several languages, including English, French, German, and Russian. It then promotes the translated works to publishers, and following publication, JLPP buys a good number of the translated titles and distributes them to libraries. What a good way to increase access to translated works!

Some of the published titles are already well-known works, such as Natsume Soseki’s Botchan and Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories. The selected works cover a number of genres, including mysteries, poetry, short stories, and novels. Upcoming titles include an introduction to contemporary Japanese poetry, fantasy novel The Mandala Way by Masako Bando, historical novel Tokyo Seven Roses by Hisashi Inoue, and literary biography A Thousand Strands of Black Hair by Seiko Tanabe.

Thanks to the very informative Three Percent blog, which focuses on international literature, for clueing me in about JLPP! I’m definitely going to check out some of these books.

Mariko Fujinaka

Thomas Riggs & Company

Missoula, Montana; Nice, France

From Thomas Riggs & Co. Blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog

Thomas Riggs & Company: From France, Love Letters to Booksellers

Posted by - Admin / November 4th, 2009

What is the biggest challenge for publishers and bookstores today? The simple answer, of course, is that people are buying fewer books, and when they do buy books, it’s increasingly online. But it’s not as if people are reading less. They might, in fact, be reading more, except now they have a new option: free content in the ever expanding virtual world of the Internet.

I sometimes think of this as an American phenomenon. In the United States attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and people seem more interested in reading blogs or watching strangers lip sync on YouTube than doing something as sedate and tedious as reading a novel. But I was discouraged to learn recently that in France, too, book buying is on the decline.

This week in Nice I found a small book, Lettres à mon libraire (Letters to My Bookseller), that helped reassure me that the world has not completely abandoned the idea of books and the stores that nurture and sell them. For the book forty-five French writers wrote brief letters, verging on love letters at times, to bookstores and booksellers. In the preface François Busnel (a well-known editor and host of a literary television program in France) begins by arguing something seemingly antiquated but at the same time intuitively true for those who grew up in the nondigital world. “Soyons honnêtes: il n’y a pas de livre sans librairie, pas d’écrivain sans libraire” (“Let’s be honest: there is no book without a bookstore, no writer without a bookseller”). He then goes on to pin the problem of bookselling today on capitalism’s commodification of art.

Literature [is] the most useless of activities. That is what we hear every day . . . in this overloaded century, which made speed its supreme value and superficiality its guardian angel, which in metaphysical discourse asked the question “What is this for?” and insisted on profitability as the answer to everything, it is a good sign, I’ve said, that something resists the terrible temptation to declare itself “useful.” Beauty is useless, as poets and philosophers all affirm.

It is in this spirit that bookstores have more than commercial value that novelist Michèle Lesbre, one of the forty-five authors, writes,

Dear bookseller of my youth. I learned that you died several months ago. I couldn’t believe the bad news. Your tiny bookstore, at the top of rue des Gras and under the shadow of the cathedral, in Clermont-Ferrand, was so long the only real sanctuary for those that thought literature could save the world, one day.

True, these passages are nostalgic and in themselves of little effect, as is much of the commentary these days lamenting the decline of reading and wearily pushing against the upcoming digital revolution in book publishing. But if it’s any consolation, books and bookstores are still valued by a lot of people, and in the worst case, when everyone has a Kindle or an Apple Tablet for reading, you’ll probably still be able to find paper books. They’ll be right next to the vinyl record section.

Thomas Riggs
Thomas Riggs & Company
Missoula, Montana

From Thomas Riggs & Co. Blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog

Thomas Riggs & Co.: Book Development, Web Content, Publishing

Posted by - Admin / September 4th, 2009

About Thomas Riggs & Company

Thomas Riggs & Company is a book developer and independent trade publisher based in Missoula, Montana. We focus on publishing projects in the humanities, such as literary criticism, biographies of writers, and study guides of literary works. In 2009 Thomas Riggs & Company started a new part of its business, literary publishing of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and poetry.

Long known officially as Thomas J. Riggs Inc., Thomas Riggs & Company was founded in 1995. Our core business, book development, was at the time a small but expanding part of the publishing world. In collaboration with a publisher, Thomas Riggs & Company performed all the tasks of a publisher—developing a book idea, hiring writers, and editing text—except the final stages of printing, distribution, and marketing. Because Thomas Riggs & Company was often a silent partner with the publisher, our name sometimes did not appear on the books we developed and produced.

Thomas Riggs & Company now commonly works on multiauthor and university-related texts, such as critical anthologies, encyclopedias, and reference books. Our first title, published with St. James Press in 1995, was Contemporary Poets, a collection of essays on writers throughout the world. Other books by Thomas Riggs & Company include Contemporary Dramatists, the Reference Guide to American Literature, and the Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Although most of our work concerns literary topics, Thomas Riggs & Company has branched out into such subjects as religion, advertising, art, and economics.

Over the years Thomas Riggs & Company has needed to stay on top of new technology and new means of processing and publishing text. HTML coding, HTML text editors, and text parsing have become part of our daily life. Perhaps most significant in academic publishing has been the gradual moving away from paper and the adoption of entirely web-based publications. Some projects now handled by Thomas Riggs & Company are found only on the Internet.

As a publisher, Thomas Riggs & Company seeks books of literary value, whether fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. We believe creative genius can be found in novels and mysteries, travel books and memoirs, musings on food and meanderings in verse. Thomas Riggs & Company has a particular interest in works from far away shores, especially France. Although we value paper books and independent booksellers, we also embrace changing technology. Thomas Riggs & Company will offer books in whatever form authors need for their works and in whatever format, paper or electronic, readers prefer.

Although based in Missoula, Montana, Thomas Riggs & Company now conducts its day-to-day work through a virtual office on the Internet. Our employees, as well as our network of editors, researchers, and writers, live throughout North America and Europe. The virtual office of Thomas Riggs & Company is built on an interconnected suite of Microsoft applications—SharePoint, Outlook, Office Communicator, and Live Meeting—allowing us not only to share file directories and calendars but also to talk with and see each other at any time. With the help of such applications, the employees of Thomas Riggs & Company can function virtually as if they were in the same office.

Thomas Riggs & Co. website: www.thomasriggs.net

Thomas Riggs & Co. blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog


What We Do

Thomas Riggs & Company

Thomas Riggs & Co., based in Missoula, Montana, has long been a book developer (also known as a book packager or book producer). Although not well understood by people outside the publishing industry, book development is a prominent part of the publishing world.

Book developers function much like an editorial department. Working contractually with book publishers, they perform all the tasks of a publisher—developing a book idea, hiring writers, and editing text—except the final stages of printing, distributing, and marketing. At Thomas Riggs & Co. we specialize in academic and reference books, especially in literature and the humanities, such as critical anthologies, encyclopedias, and reference guides.

Over the years we have increasingly worked on electronic publishing projects, mostly in the area of literature. Internet-based electronic products are particularly suited for academic and reference works. Hyperlinks and search boxes make jumping from one article or topic to another much easier than in a book. At Thomas Riggs & Co. we believe that the Internet will soon become a dominant part of publishing, and we are open to all types of electronic projects, from academic works on pay-access sites to web products available free to anyone with an Internet connection.

More recently we became a publisher of literary books. Appearing under the Thomas Riggs imprint, these new books, both prose and poetry, are an extension of our long involvement in literary criticism. Although literary publishing, as well as book publishing in general, faces challenges in the Internet era, we believe advances in printing technology and distribution provide new opportunities, not only in the economics of book manufacturing but also in the types of books we can publish. We see new technology and the new culture of the Internet laying the foundation for innovation in book design, a creative mixing of media, access to previously ignored or underrepresented voices, and new means of expression.

Additional Links

Thomas Riggs and Co :: Home Page

Thomas Riggs and Co :: Review from 800review.com

Thomas Riggs and Co :: Facts on Betaflow.com

Thomas Riggs and Co :: review on review-inc.com

Thomas Riggs and Co :: Bio on Incprofile.com

Thomas Riggs and Co :: News on Tvbubble.com