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Publisher Imprint Poll

The imprint of a book matters to me.

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Some of the comments to the giveaway for Berkley and ACE/ROC made me wonder how loyal we are to certain imprints.   I remember when I first started reading, I would always look for the little kangeroo because Pocket published Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Jayne Ann Krentz, Jude Deveraux and the like.   

Penguin is known for its Penguin Classics series.   Avon was, and maybe still is, known for its regency romances.   Does the imprint or brand of a publisher make a difference to you?   Can that influence your purchase?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Lorelie
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 07:45:25

    I used to pay more attention to publishers back when I lived in Italy and my only english language bookstore was in the Shoppette, stocked by the same people who stocked beef jerky. They’d do things like putting Mira RS in with the mysteries, so I had to know.

  2. jmc
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 07:47:37

    I picked “other”. As a general rule, I don’t pay that much attention to imprint except when it comes to Harlequin lines. But then I remembered that there are two publishers/imprints that I am reluctant to buy (or even borrow from the library) because the copy editing and type setting is…less than impressive. Maybe when reading their books, I happened to hit on a couple of clunkers, but my experience was beyond the normal realm of typos and into the realm of “this is so distracting that it is yanking me out of the story”.

  3. Meril
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 07:54:43

    Like the commenter above, there are imprints that I won’t buy (except for specific authors.) My reasons have less to do with bad copyediting than with the line editors’ tastes not coinciding with mine.

  4. Jessica Kennedy
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:01:24

    I follow authors! Publisher means not to me.

  5. Eve
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:06:22

    I am “other” because while I mostly look for authors, there are some times I am on the fence, see the publisher, and think ‘well I do like a lot of ___ books… I’ll try it.’

  6. Jinni
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:09:28

    Imprint matters for some things (like Harlequin Blaze – although the last two years have been a disappointment) and other I won’t buy because they’re inconsistent in editing or printing or they’re consistently not my taste.

    I don’t really follow authors either (I read too many books for that). I look mainly for good stories and generally inoffensive covers.

  7. Ember
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:21:51

    I’m an “other” vote. The imprint can carry weight if it’s a new to me author. Tor, for example, I’ll give almost any of their books a shot, because I love most of their lines. But I also do follow some authors across imprints and publishers.

  8. Laura Vivanco
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:43:28

    I’m in the UK, and here you can quite often find romantic fiction mixed in with romances, so if I want to be sure that a book by an unknown author really is going to be a romance, I look for the Mills & Boons. Within those, I’ve also got to know the differences between the various lines, and there are some authors I prefer over others, but the imprint and line give me confidence about what I’ll be getting when I pick up a book by an unknown author.

  9. Emmy
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 08:56:17

    I follows authors, not necessarily publishers. I do have my fave epubs I shop at online, but many of my fave epubbed authors start a series in ebook, get picked up by NY, and finish it out elsewhere.

  10. DS
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 09:02:46

    I looked at the imprint more in the past but so many publishers have been glommed together that some have lost their individuality. Now I look at reviews and authors although I auto buy fewer and fewer authors these days.

  11. joanne
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 09:50:00

    I can’t ever remember looking for/at a publisher before buying a book.

    There were certain lines from Harlequin or Silhouette that I gave priority to back in the day, but now I follow the authors, unless they go someplace….strange.

  12. Jane O
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 10:03:11

    Once upon a time I used to look for green penguins -‘ those were the mystery stories. However, you youngsters probably don’t even know that Penguin lines used to be distinguishable by color.

    Nowadays, I would have to look to tell you who published the books on my shelves. I go strictly by authors, and I try new ones based on reviews/recommendations.

  13. CT
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 10:03:13

    I do pay attention to the imprint of a book, but that’s because I get a hefty discount on some imprints, thanks to the fact that I work for another company owned by the same media conglomerate.

    So, when I’m browsing I’m always checking the imprint, because I’m cheap.

    There, I said it.

  14. Deirdre
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 10:11:42

    I don’t really pay all that much attention to imprint. I will pay more attention sometimes to an imprint when it has published authors I like to read or for example when I’m looking for Luna books or something like that.

    There are a fair few Tor, Del Rey, Mills & Boon and Baen sitting on my shelves among others, so while I don’t really pay attention particular imprints end up on my shelves by accident.

  15. Leigh Ann Baird
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 10:12:08

    I don’t pay attention to imprints/publishers. It’s the author I look for or a catchy title and cover if it’s a new (or new to me) author.

  16. Steph
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 12:28:57

    Yup, I do that! I’ll even go so far as to say that I sometimes pay attention to certain editors and agents. If an author is linked to one who represents a ton of writers I like, I’ll almost certainly be buying one of their books. I usually look this information up online – sales announcements, etc – and make a note to check the book out when it’s released. Once in a while, when I’m in the US and go to bookstores and all, I’ll pick up random books, too (usually from my favorite imprints) and if in the acknowledgments I recognize the agent/editor and like him/her, I’ll buy the book.

    (Yeah, I almost always look at acknowledgments. I don’t know why.)

    Same goes if I don’t like an agent or editor. There are a couple out there whose list I cannot STAND.

    And yup, same goes for imprints – there are some who consistently publish stuff I don’t like.

  17. ldb
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 16:09:54

    More so in a negative light, like if I hear about a historical and then find out it’s published by Avon I’ll most likely pass, because I’ve read far to many Avon books with similiar plots, characters, and minimal history, and it all seems too fluffy for me. Same with another imprint which I can’t remember the name of, I always confuse it with another line, but I have read too many books which seemed to have a poor page count, either the story demanded more pages or the plot wasn’t good enough to sustain the pages it got. I’ve basicly stopped buying from them all together and hardly ever try new Avon historical authors. Meanwhile I’ll give anything by HQ or MIRA a second glance, and I trust penguin to give me a more dramatic and less fluffy read.

  18. SonomaLass
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 16:23:55

    I'm an “other” vote. The imprint can carry weight if it's a new to me author. Tor, for example, I'll give almost any of their books a shot, because I love most of their lines. But I also do follow some authors across imprints and publishers.

    What Ember said, exactly. Once I find an author I like, they can change publishers and I will follow. But if I’m trying to decide about an author I haven’t read, imprint can influence that decision. And yes, Tor is one of my favorites, too.

  19. Dawn
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 16:36:45

    Brava. ‘Nuff said.

  20. Evangeline
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 16:37:32

    It’s a mix. Bantam/Dell used to publish my favorite authors–Jane Feather, Betina Krahn, Katherine O’Neal, Iris Johanssen (historicals), Lucia Grahame, and a few others, so I have faith in that rooster on the spine when it comes to books published by Bantam/Dell in the ’90s. I also used to pay close attention to the books produced by the Berkley Sensation and Signet Eclipse imprints within the first few years they were launched, and while I trust them when it comes to paranormal romance (Cindy Hwang of Berkley is a genius for great paranormals and urban fantasy), I look elsewhere for other romance sub-genres.

    Avon is a juggernaut–that triangle means “Romance” and more often than not “Regency Romance.” I only read a few Avon authors, but because Avon releases are so ubiquitous and the only imprint Wal-Mart and Target carry on a consistent basis, it’s easy to depend upon them for new historicals. In a roundabout way, I follow an imprint if they’ve carved a niche for themselves–not necessarily buy, but look out for–such as Avon with their Regency Historicals and Berkley with their paranormals, but it’s the author and plot that gets me to buy.

  21. willaful
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 18:32:49

    You really needed to include a choice for “avoiding” certain imprints. :-\

    I voted other; I’m mostly author-centric, but do have a Harlequin Presents addiction.

  22. Lorraine
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 19:56:20

    In my youth I only read Avon, probably because they published my first loves, KEW, Rosemary Rogers and Johanna Lindsey. I graduated to Zebra Holograms and only read those two for quite awhile.

    Now I could care less and have no idea who publishes what, other than if I want great erotica I go to Samhain or EC.

  23. Tae
    Mar 16, 2009 @ 20:06:20

    I picked author centric, but I have been known to pick up authors I’ve never read based on the publishing line they’re in – if some of my favorite authors/types of books I read are in the same line

  24. BlueRose
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 02:07:07

    You need a both listing. I will often look for a particular imprint ie Luna and then look at the author (or vice versa)

  25. DeeCee
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 03:36:25

    When I’m at the book store I work at, the only way to keep myself caught up is to know what publisher has what line with which author. It keeps me sane, and my customers happy.

    At home, I only care about the Berkley imprints, simply because I have so many of them. Its how I can usually tell what the story is going to do, and I’m rarely disappointed.

    The only time I go by authors is if there is no specific imprint listed. Like on the Ballantine books which don’t tell you anything about them in the area usually reserved for info.

  26. Kimber An
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 06:22:41

    I voted ‘Other,’ because I’m just looking for fresh, original, empowering, and entertaining stories across almost all genres. However, I do have a few favorite authors whose books I buy almost automatically.

  27. Keri M
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 06:54:57

    I couldn’t tell you who is under what publisher. I am strictly author specific and they drive my pops and drops as the Fast Money guys say. :-) Current pops: Lora Leigh, Robyn Carr, F. Paul Wilson, Greg Isles. Current drops: Linda Howard, Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood. :-( *sigh*, but I do hope that they make it back to my pop list, but not until they kick the aliens out of their bodies and start writing their own books again.

    There I said it.

  28. Kalen Hughes
    Mar 17, 2009 @ 10:47:55

    Before I started writing (aka when I was purely a reader), I wasn’t even really aware of imprints. I’ve learned a lot about them since though, LOL!

  29. KristieJ
    Mar 19, 2009 @ 06:30:37

    When I find an author I like – I follow the author. But I do pay attention to the publishers more then some readers. Some of them are more willing to gamble – Dorchester for example. And some are very much inside a box – Avon is on that end – at least in their historical line. I like what Zebra does for new authors – offering their first and second books for reduced prices. Berkley I find tends towards publishing steamier then some others and I also like both Pocket and Grand Central. One I’m becoming more and more impressed with is a smaller house – Medallion.

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