The Story of IndiePicks Magazine
I am a bookaholic. I’ll admit that openly and proudly. I love EVERYTHING about books.
Part of my obsession with books includes reading review magazines. Like a child with the old Sears catalogs at Christmas time, I was at my library the first of the month waiting for the book review magazine to be placed in the holder. As soon as it arrived, I ‘d snatch up a copy and return home. Sometimes I didn’t even make it home before opening the issue and going to my favorite columns to see what books have been reviewed. I read with pen in hand, ready to take note of the books that would be added to my ever-growing to be read list on Goodreads. Then one day it struck me that the magazine only focused on the Big 5 publishing houses.
Thanks to my Goodreads addiction, my reading habits have expanded. In searching out quality books, I have been introduced to many awesome authors who have taken a different publishing route. Rather than go with one of the Big 5 houses, these authors go “indie,” meaning they work with small or medium-sized specialized publishing houses or Amazon imprints. It surprised me when I first found out that these authors, whom I now lovingly refer to as “Outside the Big 5,” do not have access to the type of review magazines used to introduce the Big 5 published books. This seems a glaring oversight in my mind.
Dedicated bibliophile that I am, I am also a fan of my library. I couldn’t afford to read as much as I do if weren’t. I often try to seek out some of my favorite “outside” authors and am always told that the libraries doesn’t carry them. I’ve researched why and although the reasons make sense, I knew there has to be a solution; one that is a win for the authors, addresses librarians’ concerns, and meets industry requirements.
My research on books shows the same issues related to reviews of both music and film. There are a number of great recording artists and movie producers who choose not to go with a traditional studio, but who don’t scrimp on quality.
As I get to know independent authors and artists, I see that they are just as passionate about their craft as those Big 5 authors and major studios. These people became my friends and I know in my heart that if I could do ANYTHING to help them I would. Luckily, librarians want to work with authors outside the Big 5. I’ve heard the call from the American Library Association that libraries should be open to these works, but the lack of a related, recognized review source is a stumbling block. In searching out a solution my mind went back to my favorite little review magazine and the concept of IndiePicks was born.
IndiePicks is designed to serve both librarians and readers who love indie books. For a review to have credibility among librarians, it must have the librarian seal of approval. Our editor, Rebecca Vnuk, comes to us with over a decade of library experience, including at ALA’s Booklist. Our columnists are librarians, too, and if they don’t feel comfortable purchasing the work for their own collection, we won’t recommend it to our readers.
From all of us at Patomi Media Group, we hope you enjoy IndiePicks Magazine.
Naomi E. Blackburn
Publisher, IndiePicks Magazine
Patomi Media Group