This week in the book section, I write about an exciting new publisher that just moved to town named Jaded Ibis Press, and I talk with Jaded Ibis publisher Debra Di Blasi about her upcoming plans.
Almost every Jaded Ibis book sees print in several different forms: There are gorgeous full-color editions printed on heavy stock for around $50. (Most of the books contain some sort of nonlinguistic visual element; Di Blasi is a strong proponent of the visual arts and holds an open house in her Pioneer Square offices every Art Walk.) There are more affordable black-and-white print editions at the more typical trade-paperback price of $16.95. And every book will be available as an e-book for around $10, too. In addition, every Jaded Ibis book will have a "soundtrack" created by a recording artist as a kind of musical response to the book. Upcoming contributors include DJ Spooky, and the soundtracks will be released in anthologies on a semiregular basis.
Right now, only two Jaded Ibis e-books are available, and current technology has required those to be published in what Di Blasi calls "basic black and white." She's still trying to find a way to create the e-books she's envisioning, with full-color content and other multimedia aspects, although she always wants the e-book to come after the physical edition. "My first love is still print books," she says. "I want my stepson to know that when he picks up a book, it has a smell to it, and that means time has passed. There's an odor to time."
Further, Jaded Ibis will publish a "fine art limited edition" of every book in its catalog. These editions will reinterpret the text into an art object that will sell for anywhere from $3,800 to ten or even twenty thousand dollars. According to the 2010—2011 Jaded Ibis catalog, the fine art edition of Janice Lee's upcoming lyric novel, Daughter, will feature an "autopsy kit containing handcrafted surgical tools and various medical artifacts, including casts of octopi body parts in apothecary bottles" in a wooden box whose secret compartment contains "the novel printed on transparent 'skin' and laid upon a bed of sand." Sister Spit member Anna Joy Springer's upcoming novel, The Vicious Red Relic, Love, will be paired with an album featuring music by Springer and other musicians, and the fine art edition will be "a quiver woven out of fabric pages of the book containing arrows made of tightly rolled posters by various artists" that also contains "wallpaper paste and a brush to adhere the posters to construction sites." (Di Blasi is still trying to determine whether the arrowheads will be made of glass or Red Hots cinnamon candy.)
I'm excited that Jaded Ibis is in town, and you should be excited, too. Find the whole story, including Di Blasi's own fiction, her opinions about the conservatism inherent in even the most adventurous small publishers, and brief reviews of the two most recent Jaded Ibis books, here.