What are some upcoming trends for 2015?
It’s a dangerous thing to make predictions, especially in publishing. Who would have predicted the phenomena that were E.L. James or the Divergent series? If I have to make a prediction for 2015, I’d say that we’ll continue to have lots of surprises—whether among books that get on prize lists or surprises that continue to come from the self-publishing world. I think some of the biggest books of 2015 will be books we haven’t even heard about right now.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I like to be surprised, so rather than looking for any particular topic or genre, I like to read books that feel truly original and surprising and different from what’s out there already. There’s too much “me too” publishing as it is, and certainly as a small, independent publisher, I think it’s essential that we are doing something different rather than just trying to copy what other people are already doing.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
We are pretty unusual in that almost everything we acquire has already been published successfully elsewhere. We’re not going after the hot new books, the new new things, but rather looking for classic and contemporary books that have already had some degree of success—critical and/or commercial—elsewhere. That has led us to find lots of terrific books, with many more coming in 2015 and beyond. We read in four foreign languages in our office and have a range of readers reading for us in 10 or so other languages quite regularly, so we can try to find the best books from all over the world.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m an optimist, and I think you have to be to survive—and thrive!—in our industry. There is so much negative press about publishing these days, but there’s so much to be excited about. There’s a growing population of English speakers all over the world, so more readers than ever for us to reach. We just have to be smarter than ever about the books we choose and the way we publish them—at every stage—in order to succeed.
Adam Freudenheim is the publisher and managing director of Pushkin Press. Adam has worked in publishing since 1998 and was publisher of Penguin Classics, Modern Classics and Reference from 2004 to 2012. He is perhaps best known for helping to rediscover the work of the German writer Hans Fallada, with the first English-language publication of Alone in Berlin. Born in Baltimore, Adam lived near Düsseldorf and in Berlin for nearly three years and came to the UK in 1997.