9 October 12 | Chad W. Post

Former Open Letter senior editor, E.J. Van Lanen, announced yesterday that he’s started a publishing house dedicated to doing e-versions of international literature. As you can see in the press release below, the first titles—Anna Kim’s The Anatomy of a Night and Uwe Tellkamp’s The Tower—will be available in the spring of 2013.

This is a really cool idea, and I hope it not only gains a lot of traction and readers, but expands rapidly to include many more partnerships and titles.

Frisch & Co. Launches International E-Book Publisher, Partners with Germany’s Suhrkamp Verlag

BERLIN/NEW YORK, October 2012—Frisch & Co. today announced the launch of its e-book publishing program, which will publish contemporary foreign fiction in English-language translation for e-book reading devices. For its initial titles, Frisch & Co. is partnering with Berlin-based Suhrkamp Verlag—venerable publisher of Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Bernhard, Peter Handke, and many other modern German-language luminaries. The companies will collaborate to select and publish two new titles from Suhrkamp’s list each year. Frisch & Co. is currently seeking partners in other countries.

Frisch & Co.’s first two titles are Anna Kim’s haunting and poetic novel The Anatomy of a Night and Uwe Tellkamp’s award-winning epic The Tower. Both titles will be released for the first time in English in late-Spring 2013 and will be available through online e-book retailers and on Frisch & Co.’s website.

“There are so many truly fascinating stories, and great writers, that English-only readers simply don’t have the opportunity to discover,” said E.J. Van Lanen, Publisher and former Editor and co-founder of Open Letter Books. “The goal of Frisch & Co’s publishing program is to share some of these stories, and we’re trying to reach readers where they increasingly are: on their tablets, phones, and e-book readers.”

The Pew Internet & American Life Project estimates that 25% of American adults currently own a tablet device, and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) estimate U.S. trade publisher e-book revenues of $1.97 billion (or 16% of total trade dollars) for 2011, up from $838 million and 6.7% in 2010. Adult fiction currently comprises 31% of sales within the category. With its list of prominent and emerging international authors from prestigious international publishers, its single-minded focus on the e-book category, and competitive pricing, Frisch & Co. is well-positioned to benefit from these trends.

“I’m really thrilled about this project,” said Nora Mercurio, Rights Manager at Suhrkamp Verlag, “since in my eyes it represents the perfect merger of the important values Suhrkamp stands for—tradition, high literary quality, the preference of stable partnership over one-time licensing, and an open-mindedness about the future, in this case digitalization.”

In addition to publishing its books through major online retailers, Frisch & Co. will sell its e-books in DRM-free .epub format on its website.

About the books:

Translated into fifteen languages, Uwe Tellkamp’s bestselling The Tower won the 2008 Deutscher Buchpreis—awarded annually to the best German-language novel—the Deutscher Nationalpreis (2009), and the Literaturpreis der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (2009). The Tower paints an epic panorama of the waning days of the German Democratic Republic.

Suicide is spreading like an epidemic in Anna Kim’s third novel, The Anatomy of a Night, which follows the twists and turns of eleven people’s lives in a poor and largely isolated village in the eastern part of Greenland. Precisely observed and beautifully written, The Anatomy of a Night announces a major new voice in German literature.

For more information on Frisch & Co., visit its website, or contact E.J. Van Lanen (vanlanen [at] frischand.co).

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