The big story in Chicago-area independent publishing has long been Sourcebooks, the Naperville-based outfit led by Dominique Raccah. This special (read: paid for) issue of Shelf Awareness details some of what she's been up to out there in the western burbs, which is mostly trying to figure out new ways to expand what her company does in order to create books that appeal to broader, more diverse audiences of readers, while at the same time making that company more efficient. It appears to be working.

Sourcebooks does a lot of things well, but I think what interests me most about its business is the way the company has taken on the least commercially viable kind of writing out there--which is poetry--and made it a central part of its publishing program. As I see it, Sourcebooks is doing this by publishing in ways that focus less on the interest of poets, and more on the interests of book buyers. It's a simple concept, but evidently one that's harder to execute than you would think. Because I'm not sure anyone besides Dominique Raccah, to her credit, has figured it out.