Roundtable lecture stress creation of book ‘publics’

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The Berglund Center for Internet Studies’s Roundtable Series will present a lecture titled “Publication: Making Public Space” on Tuesday, Nov 8. The event will be held in Marsh’s Taylor Auditorium from noon to 12:55 p.m.

The speaker is Matthew Stadler, an author known for novels such as “Landscape: Memory,” “Allen Stein” and “The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee.” Stadler has received numerous awards for his works, including the Hinda Rosenthal Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Whiting Writer’s Award. He also has a background in publishing and editing: he co-founded Clear Cut Press, edited for Nest magazine and became the first book editor for the Seattle newspaper The Stranger.

According to Stadler, about 50 percent of books published never sell. Those books are then replaced by new ones and they end up getting sent back to the warehouse, where they are destroyed. Some of Stadler’s books have gone through major publication, so he has seen firsthand the waste created when books are published in large amounts.

“Instead of complaining about the situation, we can do work that’s exciting and hope it inspires people to do work,” said Stadler.

In the presentation, Stadler will show that real change is possible with no money and few people. He will discuss how publication is not just about making a book, but also the creation of a public around it, as well as creating something meaningful by investing in the conversation of the book.

“It’s not about challenging major publications, but showing you can do things a different way,” said Stadler. He hopes his presentation will create optimism about publication.

In 2009, Stadler and Patricia No co-founded Publication Studio in Portland. The inspiration behind creating the studio came when Stadler read Lawrence River’s novel “The Revenge of the Decorated Pig.”  Stadler felt Rinder’s book should be published because great work should have an audience and the easiest way was to do it himself.

The purpose of Publication Studio is to change how the works of artists and writers reach the public. The studio prints and binds books based on demand and they create a public for the writer. One thing Publication Studio does is offer digital commons, which allow people to read and annotate the books for free.

Stadler said, “A public is strangers who share something in common.”

A public is created around books, digital space and social events; the discussions are what make up the public space. Publication Studio offers digital commons, which allows readers to preview books in full. They create a public for the writer through gatherings and social events and print books on demand.

Publication Studio has expanded beyond Portland and “sibling studios” can be found in areas including Vancouver, British Columbia, Toronto and Los Angeles. The Publication Studio in Portland is owned by Patricia No and run with the help of David Knowles and Antonio Pinter.  Stadler is currently helping more studios get started.

More information on Publication Studio can be found at or by calling 503-360-4702.


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