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THE BIBLIO FILE is a podcast about "the book," and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging, long-form conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and many others inside the book trade and out - from writer to reader.
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Ian Birch is "former editorial director of Hearst UK and Emap. He began his magazine career in the late 1970s as a reporter for Melody Maker before moving to Smash Hits where he was assistant editor for three years. His first launch and editorship came in the late 1980s with Sky Magazine. At Hearst UK he was publisher of Company, Esquire and Harper…
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Paul Wells is a leading Canadian political journalist and author. We met at his offices in Ottawa to talk about his impressive career, and his craft writing about politics for newspapers, magazines, books, and now Substack. Topics covered include: observing and interviewing politicians; reading and remembering history; putting events into context; …
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“Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972) was one of the great founders of modern graphic design. In a career spanning nearly five decades in Berlin and New York, Bernhard laid the foundation for a new language of form and communication. His brilliant posters, advertisements, book designs and typefaces created the very look of the twentieth century and beyond. …
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I interviewed Nick Anthony a year or so ago about his experience writing a first novel and getting parts of it work-shopped. Today I catch up with him to find out what he’s been doing and where he’s at now on the road to getting his first book published. We talk about, among other things, how AI has helped him in the writing process; subjective and…
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John Sargent was too young to fight in WW ll but he spent years battling Amazon and Google in the trenches on behalf of publishers and authors, protecting copyright and defending book prices. John grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming. Over forty years he worked at six publishing companies, including Simon & Schuster where he was the publisher of th…
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Joshua Doležal is a writer and award-winning teacher with 20 years of experience in publishing and editing. His mentor was Ted Kooser, former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner. Josh's work has appeared in more than 30 magazines including The Kenyon Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His memoir Down from the Mou…
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Andrew Nash is Reader in Book History at the Institute of English Studies, University of London (a leading book history scholar in other words) and Director of the London Rare Books School. We sat down in the stacks at the Mark Longman "Books about Books" Library at the University of Reading (well, actually the Museum of English Rural Life in Readi…
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Marta Sylvestrova is a curator and art critic, and has headed the graphic design department at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, since 1986. She is a graduate of Masaryk University where she studied art history, and has, over the years, been involved in the organizing of many Brno Biennieles. They feature and evaluate graphic designs fr…
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Nic Bottomley is a bookseller, and co-owner with his wife Juliette of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, an independent bookshop based in Bath that has twice been named UK Independent Bookshop of the Year. Prior to setting up shop Nic was a capital markets lawyer. He currently serves as Executive Chair of the Booksellers Association of UK and Ire…
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The Umberto and Elisabetta Mauri Booksellers School was founded in 1983 by Luciano Mauri in memory of his father and his daughter, who died prematurely. "In the course of almost thirty years of teaching activity it has trained new generations of booksellers and has become a laboratory for experimentation and discussion on the possibilities of the b…
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Ricky Cavallero was CEO of the Spanish-language publisher Random House Mondadori for eight years. In 1995 he joined Mondadori as Director of Marketing Books; two years later he was appointed General Manager of the Spanish subsidiary and launched the Alexandros trilogy by Valerio Massimo Manfredi which became a huge best-seller. In 1999 he inaugurat…
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Matteo Columbo is Margaret Atwood's publicist and personal magician at the Ponte alle Grazie publishing house in Italy. We met in Milan to discuss, among other things, the relationship between magic and publicity, the things that Margaret's handlers insist must be present in her hotel rooms; banana tricks, surprises, examples of how to gain the att…
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I saw Dan Fridd in action promoting Edelweiss "the book industry's platform to market, sell, discover, and order new titles" at the RISE Bookselling Conference in Prague a few weeks ago and knew I had to have him on the show. Dan is Client "Success" Manager for Edelweiss. We talk about the company, his career in bookselling IT, and how "Above the T…
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Maria Hamrefors was appointed chairwoman of the Swedish Booksellers Association in 2019 after a long career in the book industry. Previous positions include CEO of Akademibokhandeln, CEO of Bokus, CEO of Norstedts Publishing Group, CEO of Thomson Corp in Sweden and director of Sweet & Maxwell Group in the UK. She is the treasurer of the European an…
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Putin is murdering Ukrainians. Xi is likely perpetrating a genocide on the Uyghurs. He's also threatening to murder Taiwanese, and he's crushing democracy in Hong Kong. Trump is ignoring the rule of law. Florida is censoring books. Why am I doing what I'm doing? Why have I interviewed more than 600 people about the book? Well, precisely to help con…
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Jeff Deutsch is a devoted reader, browser and lifelong bookseller. He's the director of Chicago's iconic Seminary Co-op Bookstores, and has written a book entitled In Praise of Good Bookstores (Princeton, 2022) in which he calls for a re-imagining of the current bookselling model, one that incorporates more than just retail, that adequately values …
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I've long been interested in rhetoric, the techniques of persuasive argument, propaganda; the use of passionate language. It's why I collect publishers' sales and bookseller catalogues, I'm sure! Ever since first laying hands on the bookseller catalogues that Jerry Kelly has, over the years, designed for the likes of Jonathan A. Hill and Glenn Horo…
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About a month ago I watched a documentary entitled Capital in the 21st Century. It was pretty riveting, describing much of what, and how, I've been thinking over the past few years about the American take-over of Canada, and the belief that the country "developed" largely because the very rich were too lazy, risk-averse and unpatriotic to invest in…
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Scott R Ferris, is a researcher, writer and specialist in the art of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971). He has conducted many lectures on Kent and has served as curator for a lot of Kent exhibitions. Here's a thumbnail of Kent culled from what Zoë Samels has written on the U.S. National Gallery website: He attended the Horace Mann School in New York City w…
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Sasha Tochilovsky is a graphic designer, typographer, curator, teacher and head of the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at the Cooper Union in New York City. We talk here about one of the greatest creative teams in magazine history: author, editor, publisher and photo-journalist Ralph Ginzburg and graphic designer and typographer …
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​I booked a room at the Intercontinental Hotel in Montreal through Hotwire a couple of days ago. When I arrived at the hotel the receptionist asked me for a $250 deposit for incidentals. Next morning, without my permission (sure, okay, it's likely buried in the small print) they charged my card an additional $200. I subsequently learned that this w…
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A perceptive devotee of the podcast told me last week that he thought I was an ignoramus. 'You don't think it takes talent to be a photographer (referring to something said during this conversation with Michael Torosian, maker of fine press photography books, here)?' 'I do think it takes talent,' I responded. 'I just don't know how much. The case h…
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Here is Part ll of my conversation with Michael Torosian featuring his soon to be released memoir/bibliography Lumiere Press: Printer Savant and Other Stories (listen to Part l here). This episode gets to the essence of Michael's book writing/publishing practice: the interview. We discuss a list of guidelines Michael has developed based on his expe…
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Michael Torosian has spent his life taking photographs, interviewing great photographers, and making fine press photography books. He's in the process of making another entitled Lumiere Press, Printer Savant and Other Stories to commemorate the establishment of the Lumiere Press Archive at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto. It's full o…
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John Metcalf is angry that after working in Canada as a "storyteller, editor, novelist, essayist, and critic" for more than fifty years his books still only sell about 500 copies each. Regardless of this, he's made a significant contribution to Canadian literature through his editing, teaching, critiquing, compiling of anthologies, publishing, and …
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In an email I received several months ago, the owners of the iconic Washington, D.C. based independent bookstore Politics & Prose wrote that Mark LaFramboise, their chief book buyer, had died. “Mark was the best book buyer any independent bookstore could hope for,” Brad Graham and Lissa Muscatine said in their note. "Not only did he know books; he …
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Tom Devlin is a key figure in the world of graphic novels. His career mimics the evolution of the genre. As founder of Highwater Books, a publishing house he set up in the early 2000s, he treated alternative comics audiences in North America to their first book-length exposure to future star cartoonist/authors John Porcellino, Marc Bell, Ron Rege J…
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Shannon DeVito is Barnes and Noble's 'Director of Books.' We met via Zoom to discuss the roles and duties associated with this intriguing-sounding position. I discovered that they include co-ordinating the relationship between national and local book-buying teams; 'assortment' work; creating initiatives - including prizes ( e.g. the Discover Prize;…
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Where does editing leave off and ghostwriting begin? How cool is it to pass yourself off as the writer if you haven't done any of the writing? How much recognition do "collaborators" deserve? Should ghostwriters be completely anonymous? When should they refuse assignments? How does one work with a person whose views are opposed to yours? Where does…
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Earlier this year a tiny Quebec-based children's publishing house, Monsieur Ed, won the prize for Best Children’s Publishers of the Year in North America at the Bologna Book Fair. It won, judges said, for being at the forefront of innovation in the creative nature of its editorial choices during the past year. I thought this was a big deal so I con…
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Allan Fleming (1929 – 1977) was a Canadian graphic designer best known for having created the Canadian National Railway logo, for designing the 1967 book Canada: A Year of the Land and for "revolutionizing" the look of scholarly publishing in North America in the 1970s with his work at University of Toronto Press. In 1953 Allan moved to England to …
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I first became aware of the graphic edition of Timothy Snyder's book On Tyranny during a visit to the National Socialist Documentation Centre museum in Munich about a year ago (revel in the backstory here). I bought and read a copy of the original edition shortly thereafter. It's a powerful book, full of important, actionable lessons. This past Sum…
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Libri Prohibiti is a nonprofit, independent, archival research library located in Prague, Czech Republic that collects samizdat and exile literature. Founded by Jiri Gruntorad after the fall of the communist regime its holdings include some 40,000 monographs, periodicals, reference resources, and audiovisual materials. In addition to dissident arti…
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Naomi Bacon is a seasoned book marketer, and founder of The Tandem Collective. She has worked with JK Rowling’s agency, The Blair Partnership, as well as Pottermore, Pan Macmillan, Penguin and Hachette. Her ambition has always been "to be at the forefront of digital innovation, creating meaningful connections between publishing partners, content cr…
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Michael Žantovský is a Czech diplomat, author and translator. He is a former Czech Ambassador to the United Kingdom, as well as to Israel and the United States. He has translated more than fifty works of fiction, drama and poetry, mostly by contemporary American and British writers including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, E.L. Doctoro…
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John Owen is a bookseller who runs the events program at the English Bookshop at Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus in Berlin. That English Bookshop? Probably the best I've ever been in, in my life. We talk about, among other things: being blown away; bookshop lighting; window seating; how to display books; mixing things up and discovering new titles; boo…
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Elisabeth Ruge is a German editor, publisher and literary agent. She currently heads the Elisabeth Ruge Agency which she founded in 2014. In 1994 she established the Berlin Verlag publishing house together with her then husband Arnulf Conradi and Veit Heinichen. I met Elisabeth at her home on the outskirts of Berlin to discuss the roles she has pla…
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Jonathan Landgrebe is the publisher of Suhrkamp Verlag. We met at his offices in Berlin to talk about his role as head of one of Germany's most revered publishing houses, and to riff off Siegfried Unseld's book The Author and His Publisher. Topics covered in our conversation include: important books that just don't sell; the publisher-author relati…
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Pamela Paul was books editor at the New York Times from 2013 to March 2022 when she became an opinion columnist for the newspaper. We talk mostly about the role that books editors play in the lifecycle of 'the book.' I also whine a fair amount about how I don't like the fact that she left her position plus we diverge into discussion about Pamela's …
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Why listen to James Marsh? Because he knows about love and encyclopedias. He grew up in The Junction district of Toronto surviving a difficult childhood, and began his career in publishing at Holt Rinehart and Winston where he was editor of a Centennial history of Canada entitled Unity and Diversity. He later became executive editor of McClelland a…
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Nick Anthony is a writer, stand-up comic, and screen-writer. He's participating in this year's Prague Summer Program for Writers and his novel, tentatively entitled Two Hits of Acid in Cambodia, was just workshopped this past week. We talk about the experience, but not before discussing magic, stand-up comedy writing; new material that kills; God c…
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Why listen to Alexandra Pringle? Because Richard Charkin told me that she's the best editor in the English speaking world, that's why. Alexandra was editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury Publishing for more than two decades. She was recently appointed Executive Publisher. She began her publishing career at the British magazine Art Monthly before joining th…
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What's not to like here? Marius Kociejowski is charming, erudite and funny. Why should you listen to him? He's just written a memoir about the soul of the book trade. What happens in bookstores doesn't happen elsewhere​ he says. The multifariousness of human nature is more on show​ here​ ​t​han anywhere else, he says, and ​"​I think it’s because of…
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I'm in Prague for the Summer. Going to be participating in one of the world's leading creative writing programs. I interviewed its founder Richard Katrovas. Why listen to Richard? Having run the Prague Summer Program for Writers for more than two decades, he knows a lot about the process of teaching creative writing; plus he knows karate. We talk a…
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Why did I interview Mark Andrews? Because he's a fellow Canadian, he's an exceptional book collector who brings an engineer's mind to the task, and he's just published a beautiful book featuring selections from his book collection, entitled The Science and Engineering of Water; An illustrated catalogue of books and manuscripts on Italian hydraulics…
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Why am I interviewing Mark Samuels Lasner for a third time? Because he's a recognized and respected book collector who knows how to speak intelligently and amusingly about books. And though we've already talked about his impressive collections that cover late 19th century British literary culture, and The Bodley Head, I wanted to learn about what h…
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I came across Kat McKenna's name in an article written by Alison Flood in The Guardian last year. I'd googled Tik Tok's "Book-Tok" because I'd heard it was moving a lot of YA books and wanted to learn more. Kat was quoted in Alison's piece. It was clear she knew what made BookTok tick. I contacted her and now she's on the show. Kat has worked in UK…
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Stephen Enniss is director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. Previous posts include Head Librarian at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Director of Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library where he made a series of impressive acquisitions including the archives of Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie a…
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Sarah Miniaci is a freelance book publicist with fifteen years of experience in the New York and Toronto markets. Ken Whyte's Sutherland House is one of her clients. Ken interviewed Sarah for a recent issue of Shush, his excellent Substack newsletter on the publishing business. Together they surveyed today's new publishing landscape. With the help …
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Author/historian Stuart Kells has been chasing rare books and other bookish treasures since childhood. In the 1980s he went for classic sci-fi paperbacks from Ace and Dell, and authors such as Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. When he moved to Melbourne in the summer of 1989 he was amazed by the city’s bookshops, especially secondhand shops - not…
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