Monday Musings | Paying Attention to Publishers?

Literature Classics Penguin Classics Oxford Classics One More Page

When I was in university studying English, classics were a staple on my reading lists. Now, I don’t know how you categorize your shelves, but when classics made up most of mine in university, my favourite way to organize my books was by publisher (see above!). Just thinking about my row of black Penguin classics and white Oxford classics makes my heart sing!

However, outside of the classics, I never really paid attention to who was publishing my favourite books until I started blogging. This is kind of interesting, as it makes me wonder whether other readers consider publishers when they pick up a new book.Β Does a book published by a recognizable publisher give readers more confidence in picking it up if they see it on a table in Chapters? Or do we largely ignore publishers and focus on the book’s content itself?

I have definitely noticed trends in my reading (I read a lot of books by Penguin Random House Canada, which is unsurprising as their one of the biggest global publishers. I also read a lot from HarperCollins Canada, especially now that I’m an intern there!). That being said, I don’t confine myself to my favourite publishers and do rely on book synopses to help me determine whether I want to read a book or not.

Now, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Do you pay attention to publishers when purchasing books/reading? Do you have a favourite publisher? If so, why do you consider them your favourite?

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26 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Paying Attention to Publishers?

  1. Nish says:

    I find myself doing that a lot more now that I am book blogging, but as an average reader I never really paid any attention (except for the classics of course).

  2. cricketmuse says:

    Publishers often way in the decision of selecting a read. For instance, I will pick a Folger version over any other version of a Shakespeare play due to their scholarly diligence.

  3. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts says:

    I don’t think I necessarily seek out certain publishers; like you, my decision to pick up a book is mostly based on the back copy. However, when I pick up a book and see that it’s by my favorite imprint (or my least favorite), I do acquire certain expectations about what I’m going to get into. Definitely, if I were just browsing in a bookstore or library, I wouldn’t pay any attention to who published what. Though I do find that I tend to gravitate more towards certain imprints, just because they’re putting out content that I’m interested in on a regular basis.

  4. Carole Besharah says:

    I tend to choose books based on the author, the cover copy, or a recommendation by another book blogger.

    I get excited when I am purchasing a book from a small press because they do need our support. But, I have to admit, that only happens a few times a year. I also noticed that, n the past two years, my favorite books seem to be published by Random House Canada. That huge publishing house represent so many of the authors I love. Big monopoly. Big distribution.

    • Karen says:

      Nah, there’s no reason why you should pay attention to it if it doesn’t compel you! I think it makes most sense to go by the book’s synopsis/author/recommendations, etc. Paying attention to publishers is just a little extra observation. πŸ™‚

  5. Leah says:

    I never paid attention to which houses published the books I read until I started blogging — and even now, I wouldn’t say they factor into what I choose to read. The only real exceptions are that I can be fairly certain that a book from Knopf/Doubleday, Riverhead, or Graywolf is going to be a good one.

    • Karen says:

      I enjoy quite a few of Penguin Random House’s imprints, but recently I’ve been noticing that I’m drawn to a lot of the books published under HarperCollins’ Harper Avenue (Yes Please, How to Build a Girl, Station Eleven, etc),

  6. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    Shannon at River City Reading wrote a great post on how paying attention to imprints has helped her select books that better match her taste. Until I read that post, I paid no attention to imprints or publishers. Then, Shannon inspired me to analyze my imprint history and start tracking it for future selection. I found that Knopf, Harper Collins, Crown, and Little Brown seemed to be good picks for me…so I’m now looking at those imprints’ catalogs first when requesting books! And, like Leah, I’ve also had some good recent luck with Riverhead.

    • Karen says:

      That’s awesome!! I feel like paying attention to imprints can really open up a whole new world for discovering books. I guess that’s why they’re there in the first place πŸ˜‰

  7. Naomi says:

    I read whatever sounds good to me, but when I am spending my money I pay more attention. It’s a lot easier to get books from the library from the big publishers. I find books from the smaller publishers harder to get a hold of, so I often end up buying those ones and borrowing the others.

  8. RAIN CITY READS (@RainCityReads) says:

    I never used to pay much attention to publishers – and I probably still don’t pay as much attention as I should. I definitely read more of Penguin Random House and their imprints because a) they’re huge and they publish so many big name authors and b) I review for them more than anyone else, so I have more access to their titles. The latter also makes me feel warm and fuzzy about them, and I like supporting them. I do find that when I look at my shelves, I notice the same publishers and imprints over and over – even before I started reviewing for PRH. So I think that even though I never purposely tried to target my reading by publisher, there is something to the idea that your tastes will naturally lead you to favour certain publishers just by fluke because you like the type of books they choose to publish.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah! I do feel like I read a lot from them because I am more exposed to their titles, if you will. I do enjoy supporting them as well πŸ˜€ I think it’s so cool how different imprints will attract different kinds of readers.

  9. Shaina says:

    I’ll read from anywhere, but I’ll admit that seeing a book is being published by a “bigger” house or one of its imprints will boost my confidence in its quality. Snobby, I know. πŸ˜‰

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