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“We’re all in it together”

Things have gone remarkably smoothly, considering the fact that I was in such a flurry before I left that I had my flight time wrong by two hours (fortunately, it was later than I thought). Frankfurt is a huge trade fair, but the American Collective Stand booths have a cozy feel, to my surprise. Our mere one metre of space feels like more than that. It’s a metre side-to-side of shelving and a couple of metres floor to ceiling, plenty of room for our current books and a couple of posters. (Patterns of Global Terrorism is here in proof. The books are due to ship on 11 November, Armistice Day, which can be seen as hopeful, or terribly ironic.)

You make friends fast with your neighbors in a space like this, sharing tables. One of the women on the right talks incessantly and loudly and with great self-absorption, but I’m rather enjoying it because she is not American.

My closer neighbor started the day by commenting, “We’re all in this together.” And that’s the very best thing about publishing. We are in this together; we love books and ideas and knowledge and the idea of creating publications (print and also online) that will please and enrich readers. Publishing attracts people who are decent, intelligent, and quietly sociable, and being at an event like this makes me happy to be working in this particular kind of business, for all its complications.

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