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Introducing: Open Letter After Dark Series [Back to School Edition!]

A few years ago, Open Letter approached and joined up with a handful of foreign publishers to bring together what we’ve named the Open Letter After Dark series.

Sounds kind of sexy, doesn’t it?

This series—which is an ebook only series—was put together with the intent to do something a little more to connect foreign publishers with translators, particularly those just starting out, and to give an extra boost to the number of books being brought into publication. It was also put together as a platform to give students working with the press a chance to get more hands-on in the production side of things: to work with translators and authors, use software to put the ebooks together themselves, gather the necessary catalog information . . . And, of course, it creates a little loophole for that wee, pesky issue of how many books we’re able to publish a year.

As is the case with many other small, non-profit presses, Open Letter Books has limited resources, capping the number of titles they can published (in a fiscally responsible manner) in a given year. For us, we’re limited to 10 new books a year. Because of these limits, we and many other presses are making tough decisions on an almost daily basis, of which books to pass on, which books to mull over, and which books, ultimately, to publish. However, with ebooks removing many of the constraints tied to print-publishing, we can increase the number of books we are able to introduce to the world of literature in translation.

But this series has a greater purpose in mind than just saving a few pennies in production costs. The beauty of ebooks is that once the book has been translated, edited, and proofed, it’s good to go on sale almost immediately, and to the delight of readers everywhere. Another benefit is that, within the After Dark series model, the foreign publishers, agents, and authors, even, are able to use this fully-treated translation to shop the book around to other publishers. Once a print publisher is found for the respective book, its time as an After Dark ebook comes to a close—but its life as a print book has found its beginning.

To kick off our After Dark series (which has been in a slow, soft-open for the last year now, and two of the three inaugural titles have been available for purchase for a bit already), we have three brilliant titles from three University of Rochester MA in Literary Translation Studies graduates. These titles were not only the three respective translators’ thesis projects, but also three books that we absolutely wanted to have in this series, for all their quirks, humor, thought-invoking and paranoia-inducing qualities. These are books you will want to read and reread, and books that, we hope, will continue to change and challenge the way each reader digests and understands literature.

Inaugural Titles – Open Letter After Dark

The Land of Fear by Isaac Rosa, translated from the Spanish by Robert Rinck

Beat Space by Tommaso Pincio, translated from the Italian by Acacia O’Connor

Medical Autobiography by Damián Tabarovsky, translated from the Spanish by Emily Davis.

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All of these books will be priced at $4.99—so affordable!—and available through all ebook platforms. All three are absolutely worthy of having the Open Letter colophon on their spine (or screen), so if you’re a fan of what we do, you should definitely check these out.

And be on the look out for a couple more Isaac Rosa titles in the near future. One of Spain’s hottest young authors, his works are meandering, high-minded, and, at times, really unnerving. (The robbery scene in Land of Fear still sticks with me, years after first reading it. What would you do if someone was in your room while you pretended to sleep?)

We’ll put up individual posts about each of these titles over the next few weeks, but for now, we wanted to at least introduce everyone to the core concept.



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