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Farewell to Emily Books, a champion of the adventurous, rebellious, and under-recognized.

Corinne Segal

February 4, 2020, 3:22pm

Emily Books, Emily Gould and Ruth Curry’s 9-year-old project to publish and re-distribute “transgressive writers of the past, present and future,” will shut down next month, the pair announced in a statement today.

The project began as a service that sent a new book each month to subscribers, for which Gould and Curry assembled a dream list of writers, including Ann Rower, Eileen Myles, and Tamara Faith Berger. They also worked to resurrect out-of-print books and others that had fallen behind the digital revolution and bring them into ebook distribution. In 2016, the project began publishing new books under Coffee House Press, including those by Chloe Caldwell and Jade Sharma.

Gould and Curry wrote that the financial reality of maintaining Emily Books had become untenable:

While we’re thrilled that the voices and stories we’ve been championing for years have lately become more “marketable,” it’s made it harder for us to compete with publishers whose resources outstrip ours by many orders of magnitude. The litmus test for our books has always been, “Can anyone else publish this as well as we can?” While we still believe that our curatorial instincts and editorial skills are unique and influential, we also want authors to get paid real money, and to have their books reach the widest possible audience. It is now far more difficult for us to make the case to authors that accepting a small advance now might be good for their careers down the road.

Emily Books’ final release will be the novel Temporary by Hilary Leichter in early March.

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