CEO Ben Mondloch discusses publishing at Cherry Lake Publishing and Sleeping Bear Press, Ebooks Minnesota publishing partners. Ebooks MN is an online collection covering a wide variety of subjects for readers of all ages, and features content from our state's independent publishers.
This interview (7/8/16) has been condensed and edited by Kristen Daily, Ebooks MN Project Intern.
Minitex: How would you describe yourself as a publisher?
Ben Mondloch: We have three distinct imprints, each with its own “purpose” and personality.
A publisher from Sleeping Bear Press says, “Our mission is to find books that inspire and enrich readers through the power of story. Nothing is more rewarding then when you match the perfect manuscript with perfect art and design.”
A publisher from Cherry Lake Publishing says, “Our mission is to publish books that help prepare students for life and work in the 21st century.”
A publisher from 45th Parallel Press says, “We strive to produce titles that engage struggling and reluctant readers to help build a solid foundation for reading.”
M: What does it mean to you to be an independent publisher in Minnesota?
BM: It’s very exciting to be an independent Minnesota publisher. People outside of the publishing industry are often shocked to hear that Minnesota is one of the most vibrant states in the country for independent publishing. It’s funny, at national trade shows I’m always asked, “Why are there so many publishers in Minnesota?” And in nonfiction series publishing, Minnesota is “the center of the universe.”
M: What do you see your role as in the Minnesota publishing community?
BM: To produce quality books and materials that protect the legacy and heritage of the people that established this industry in Minnesota: George Peterson Sr., Jim Mackin, George Peterson Jr., Harry Lerner, Glen Taylor, and many (many) others that put Minnesota on the publishing map by producing quality products. It’s our job to be good stewards of their legacy.
M: What are you most proud of as a publisher?
BM: I’m most proud, when I get a letter from a teacher, librarian, or parent saying that one of our books “hooked” a child into reading.
M: What publications are you most excited about?
BM: Books are like children, you love all of them equally. But, our 45th Parallel Press imprint is doing an important job of getting struggling readers back into reading.
M: How would you describe your relationship with the Minnesota library community? What would you like to see in the future?
BM: I would love to see more collaboration with our library community. We all benefit when libraries are being used and enjoyed. What can we do together to build awareness of the power of libraries?
I would like to see a future in which libraries get the respect (and funding) that they deserve. Libraries make communities great. The role of the media specialist to teach information literacy skills has never been more critical.
M: What would you like the library community to know about you?
BM: That I’m always open to new ideas or business models. As long as we are collaborating together, I’m willing to try almost any new model that would help libraries remain relevant and vibrant.
M: What changes do you think publishing will see in the future? Where do you see Cherry Lake Publishing and Sleeping Bear Press in the future?
BM: I hope that we will still be producing great books that kids like to read. In the new publishing world, data is everything. Hopefully we can find a way to keep the “craft” in book publishing.
M: PR coverage/getting word out about books has drastically changed (i.e. social media promotions, book trailers, etc.). What do you think this will look like in the future? How will people find books?
BM: As I mentioned earlier, data has become a very important part of the publishing industry. Matching user preferences with our books will be key to success. We need to find new and innovative ways to match great books with the people that want (and appreciate) them. Libraries have been doing this for years; together, we need to continue pushing to make sure we meet users’ expectations.
I also hope is that our customers will be brought into the publishing process much earlier. I would love to use the knowledge of our community of readers in the development of new projects.
Ebooks Minnesota is a two-year pilot project of Minitex and State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education. The collection was made possible in part by funding from the Minnesota Department of Education through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and by Minitex.