BLTC Press is a “follow your bliss” activity for me — or as Rudolf Steiner would say, something, at bottom, that I pursue from “pure love of the deed”. Just about a year ago (July 2007) I bought my first Sony Reader with some of the proceeds from a sell-off – give-off – trade-off of several thousand “extra” books I had accumulated over the years.
I made the jump from my first passion, book publishing, into the software business (once upon a time it was even called “software publishing” and my first business card even said “software acquisition editor”) years and years ago, and found myself weaving in and out of various text and extext projects — product manager for an early Word Processor for the Apple II (PIE Writer); Development lead on a publishing system at Mirror Systems (part of Times Mirror) to move medical abstracts from Year Book Medical Publishers online with Lexis/Nexis, and at Apple involved in various technical publication projects as part of my software tools product manager role, and “godfather” of their Adobe Acrobat precursor, DocViewer – rightly abandoned by Apple as Adobe stepped forward with PDF.
Yet I never ever seriously considered ebooks a viable thing. I’ve never read a book (other than documentation) from a PDF. I did read a couple of books on my Palm Pilot, and also bought a few of those “Books in a Hypercard stack” for the Macintosh (weird!). But when I saw the e-ink display, I flipped a bit and felt all my book publishing, software, and platform ecosystems juices flowing. I got religion.
I couldn’t quite figure out where to channel it, so I wound up doing BLTC Press in my spare time (I’m currently unemployed from my day job in enterprise software product management, so there’s a bit of that right now). I am the chief cook and bottle washer here, and trying to figure out how to scale it, and also contemplating a move into copyright publications, among other things.
Mostly, I enjoy publishing books that I think are worth reading and interesting. I remember last fall standing in the basement of the Strand bookstore in New York and laughing at the hubris/impossibility of ever gettin all this backlist stuff electronic. But that’s the space that interests me the most — the copyright backlist stuff that you pick up in used bookstores. Used bookstores (good ones) are great filters as they (usually) are pretty selective — they know what sells and what doesn’t (what has sold). New York and Amazon will take care of the frontlist — which is great, and which become tomorrow’s backlist. Meanwhile, there is tons of gold to be mined.
More later, like — “Why haven’t you published any new titles in the last month?”