No, I’m not going to interrupt someone – I’m talking about this moment:
Research season (part one) hit us, and once again I thought about how difficult research is for students. As we’ve been weeding the print collection and bulking up the digital offerings, it’s been interesting to watch how students interact with what we have. Much of their research has been what I’d call “cherry picking” research: find a fact here… find a fact there… find a quote somewhere else… repeat. The great narrative nonfiction we have doesn’t get used to their fullest extent, in part because they (the students) don’t really have time to delve into their topics. Of course, that hasn’t changed since I was in high school!
Over the past few years, I’ve regretted the loss of those Time-Life book sets. Remember them? So many of them were great resources for research, perfect for a quick read and cherry pick information, much as they do with Daily Life series. But, sadly, T-L has ceased publishing (before completing This Fabulous Century!) and what we have is falling apart from use.
Years ago, the Marvelous Marion and I dreamed up a business idea: Sugar Daddy Press (because we’d need a sugar daddy to get things going). We’d buy the rights to those series and create wonderful reprints, even extending them. Example? The Library of Art would move into other arts, giving us The World of Mozart and The World of Bronte in addition to The World of Van Gogh. We’d also take on those Jackdaws, only now they’d be online (Rosen, please get on this ASAP!). There were so many other books that we found – and I still find – missing from our shelves, if by “missing” you mean “never published” or “out of print”.
Hence my Kanye moment. Much as I love my job, if someone invested in Sugar Daddy Press I’d leave this one in a second to start getting things moving. Because Research Season (part two) is about to hit.