Friday, January 15, 2010

Founder of Asian-centric publisher Stonebridge Press brings company back from the brink

by Chris MaGee

A lot of you may not be familiar with Stone Bridge Press off the top of your heads, but trust me, if you're a fan of Japanese film then you most likely have read or even own some of their books. A quick look through my bookshelf turns up three Stone Bridge publications, Arturo Silva's "A Donald Richie Reader", Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp's "The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film" and "Frederik L. Schodt's "Dreamland Japan: Writing on Modern Manga", but this is only the tip of the iceberg of great books on Japanese film from this Berkley, California-based publisher. They've also released books by such renowned Japanese cinephiles as Alexander Jacoby, Patrick Galloway, and Mark Schilling as well as titles about anime greats Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon (tale a look at their full catalogue at their official site here).

So, why do I bring up Stonebridge Press at this particular moment? Because of very good news, that's why. In 2005 Stonebridge founder Peter Goodman was forced to sell his publishing company to major Japanese book distributor Yohan Incorporated. Now five years later and in the wake of Yohan's 2008 bankruptcy Goodman has managed the impossible and has actually bought back the company he founded in 1989 with the goal of bring "quality books about Asia" to North American readers.

In an age when us fans of Japanese film shudder at the seemingly endless news of one DVD distributor after another collapsing due to the troubled economy and the risks of catering to a niche market it's very nice to hear a Phoenix-from-the-ashes success story like this one. Thanks to Anime News Network for spreading the good word.

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