Director of operations Dede Kinerk and chief operating and marketing officer Michelle Berger greet guests at the launch party for the Progressive Book Club, held last Wednesday night in the rooftop bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel. Shortly after taking this picture, I got to chat with Berger, who spoke of the cultural shift that made now a perfect time to start such an organization. “After eight years of the Bush White House, people are looking for new leadership,” she said. “They’re leaning towards progressive values.”
What about the notion, expressed by some, that book publishing already is a progressive book club. “I don’t agree,” she said. “There is definitely a hole in the market.” Even if the rank and file of the publishing industry leans liberally, she continued, it has not succeeded in coalescing the market around books with progressive values. The PBC’s mandate is to speak directly to that audience, in particular to call attention to new voices, with independent and university presses getting as much time in the spotlight as the big houses,
“It’s awesome for us,” said Elizabeth Clementson of Ig Publishing, as her partner, Robert Lasner, chimed in, “You can write that: We really like the Progressive Book Club.” The Brooklyn-based press, which brought Vance Packard‘s The Hidden Persauders and Edward Bernay‘s Propaganda back into print, has already been selected as the PBC’s small press of the month for August.