The Twelve

Much of the news about the publishing industry these days concerns mergers and consolidation. The proposed merger between Penguin Group and Random House would create a publisher so big that the deal required the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice, European Union regulators, and other global anti-trust authorities.

All the talk about mega-publishers has me wondering - Can a reader still judge a book by its publisher? Large publishers often have separate divisions with individual imprints specializing in subject areas or formats. These smaller entities maintain distinct personalities.

One example is Twelve Books, which is part of the Hachette Book Group and has an unusual mission. It was created in 2005 with the objective of publishing no more than one book a month. By limiting the number of books published and selecting books that are authoritative, provoking, entertaining and relevant, Twelve Books hopes to contribute to a national conversation about our culture.

Some recent books from Twelve include "Mortality" by Christopher Hitchens, "The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office" by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan, "The One World Schoolhouse" by Salman Kahn, and "Schroder: A Novel" by Amity Gaige.

Despite the consolidations at the top of the industry, a book's publisher can still offer clues about what is inside.

--Jennifer A., Headquarters

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