I love books. Well, let me qualify that: I love good books. I love books that contain top-notch writing, scrupulous editing and excellent design, and that have been crafted to meet high production standards.

There was a time not so long ago when it could be assumed that a commercially published book would meet minimum standards for quality in writing, presentation and production. Unfortunately, that assumption no longer can be made. As the tools and technologies of publishing have become more widely available, the former gatekeepers of the printed word—editors, designers, typographers and proofreaders—often are bypassed. Too many books nowadays serve as testaments to the bypassing of these publishing professionals.

As someone who has had a long career helping give birth to books, it sets my teeth on edge when I see an amateurish book cover. I wince when I see that the interior pages of the book are straight out of a word-processing program. And I cringe when I encounter spelling error after spelling error. If the book has been put together in such a slapdash fashion, why should I trust its contents?

Unfortunately, the traditional publishing infrastructure that once kept the aforementioned gatekeepers at their posts is at risk of becoming unsustainable. Brick-and-mortar independent bookstores are disappearing, and even bookstore chains are threatened. Traditional publishers who once were able to gamble on promoting a book by an unknown author now are forced to save their promotional muscle and dollars for blockbusters and surefire bestsellers. Once published, a book has only a few months to prove its worth before the plug is pulled and the remaining copies wind up either on the remainder table or in the shredder. (It is worth noting here that other legacy media empires, such as newspapers, record companies and broadcast television networks, are facing similar challenges to their continued sustainability.)

But I have hope. I believe that publishing’s current problems and challenges, whether poor product quality or collapsing business models, are not caused by these new publishing technologies themselves. The problem is that the people who have latched onto these technologies often do not know how to use them effectively (and often don’t realize, or don’t want to admit, that they need to learn how to use them). Meanwhile, the people who could use these new technologies appropriately are too wedded to their traditional way of doing things to take the trouble of adopting something new.

As someone who respects the quality and values of traditional publishing, and who has spent an entire career on the leading edge of publishing technology (and who has lost count of how many “revolutions” he has gone through), my goal for Nelson Borhek Press is to develop ways of exploiting new publishing technologies and procedures in order to gain new efficiencies, and thereby open up new publishing possibilities—all without sacrificing the professional standards of quality that are the hallmarks of traditional publishing.

Can it be done? I think it can. Will Nelson Borhek Press be the one to do it? I hope so. I expect so. And in any event, it should be an interesting ride. I invite you to check out our books and let me know how we’re doing.

Eric P. Borhek, publisher

Nelson Borhek Press

A message from the publisher: