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Interview with Ebooks MN Publishing Partner: Quarto Publishing Group USA


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Group Publisher Erik Gilg discusses publishing at Quarto, one of the 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 (6/17/16) has been condensed and edited by Kristen Daily, Ebooks MN Project Intern.

Minitex: How would you describe yourself as a publisher?

Erik Gilg: Quarto Publishing Group USA is part of the Quarto Group, the leading global illustrated book publisher and distribution group, whose mission is to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of our readers, putting books in their hands, wherever, however and whenever they choose. Quarto creates more than 600 adult and children's books a year. These books are sold into more than 45 countries and in more than 35 languages. Subjects range from Art 'How-To', Graphic Design, and Home Improvement, to Cooking, Gardening, Motoring, and Crafts. In fact, we cover any subject that can be better explained with photographs or illustrations. Put another way, we love making great books and we love selling lots of them to readers as passionate about our subjects as we are.

M: What do you see your role as in the MN publishing community?

EG: Quarto Minneapolis celebrates its roots with it publishing program and is home to four distinct publishing lines with strong regional connections: 1. Burgess Lea Press, a cookbook program that donates 100% of after-tax publishing profits on every book to 501 c(3) organizations that address hunger relief, farmland preservation, and culinary education, including St. Paul-based Urban Roots Minnesota 2. Cool Springs Press, a gardening and home improvement imprint that publishes the bestselling Square Foot Gardening series, as well as all Black and Decker titles, 3: Motorbooks, a leading automotive and transportation publisher with Osceola, WI roots that publishes officially-licensed books with Harley-Davidson, Ford, and others, and which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and 4. Voyageur Press, a publishing imprint with Stillwater, MN origins which focuses on (often local) cooking, beer and spirits, self-sufficiency, popular science, and (often local) music.

M: What does it mean to you to be an independent publisher in MN?

EG: Quarto Minneapolis is proud to be part of such a literate culture that loves and celebrates books in our bibliophile state. We love providing readers with our wide range of books, including our strong regional ones that are meant to educate, entertain, and enrich.

M: What are you most proud of as a publisher?

EG: Quarto Minneapolis is both regional and international, publishing books for the local audience, as well as more general ones that can sell internationally. That is a hard balance to maintain, though we feel like we do it successfully.

M: What publications are you most excited about?

EG: All of them. Truly. Our editorial vetting process is rigorous, so we only publish titles we are passionate about and also which have an identifiable audience. But in terms of regional publishing, we are proud of Burgess Lea Press’s "Heartland: Farm Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest" from St. Paul resident, Lenny Russo; Cool Spring Press’s "Straw Bale Gardening" from Roseville, MN resident Joel Karsten; Motorbooks’ "The Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Archive Collection" from Minneapolis resident Darwin Holmstrom; and Voyageur Press’ "The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook" from Minneapolis resident, Tricia Cornell.

M: How would you describe your relationship with the MN library community?

EG: As residents of this state, we love the wide-ranging library system, which provides our community with books, but also a meeting place for citizens. We love selling our titles into the library market, as they do what we love best: getting books into readers’ hands! I personally am also a board member for the Minnesota Book Publishers’ Roundtable, whose goal is to develop, encourage, and promote the book publishing industry in Minnesota and the region, provide book publishers and those in related professions and trades an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, and promote good fellowship and friendly cooperation among its members.

M: What would you like to see in the future?

EG: We would love to see our library sales grow, because Quarto Minneapolis creates books by Minnesotans for Minnesotans. More sales into libraries = more possible readers!

M: What would you like the community to know about you?

EG: While Quarto is an international company, it publishes a wide range of books, both regional and international, for many different tastes and audiences. The Minneapolis office is one of the company’s biggest and is filled with passionate employees who love making beautiful books that find themselves in readers' hands.

M: Where do you see Quarto in the future of publishing?

EG: Quarto will continue to grow and continue creating books that readers want. Quarto Minneapolis will continue to occupy a central place in the Minnesota publishing scene in the near and far future.

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?

EG: People will find books in bookstores, to be sure, but also online in special enthusiast communities. And importantly, from authors, who are often the best advocates for their own books.

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.