• Melville House

Hey, if you were wondering why it's important that indie presses exist, HERE, THIS IS WHY: Independent, Brooklyn-based publisher Melville House is going to publish the Senate Intelligence Committee's "Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program," aka "the torture report," that was released on Tuesday, with a run of 50,000 copies to start. The NY Times has co-founder Dennis Johnson saying, "Our fear was that, with all the distractions of the holiday season, the report would fade quickly from the news cycle."

Here's more from the NY Times:

Melville House is rushing the 480-page book into production, with an on-sale date of Dec. 30. Melville House paid no advance for the material, which is in the public domain and available for free online. The full 6,000-page report remains classified; only the summary has been released.

Unlike some other publishers that have printed earlier government reports, Melville House says it is not getting any financial or other support from the government to offset production or shipping costs.

Holy shit. I'm just going to call it: this is a big deal for books, for small press publishing, and for transparency. Granted, big names in publishing have been known to make reports like this available to the public in book form—after all, it was Norton the released The 9/11 Commission Report in 2004. But the amazing turnaround time here speaks to Melville House's origins: Johnson and co-founder Valerie Merians started Melville House as a way to publish a book of submissions from writers and poets written in response to 9/11. According to the press' website, they "felt it better represented the spirit of New York than the call to war of the Bush administration." Today's announcement says a lot about them as a press, I think, especially considering they've only been around for 10 years.

The report will be available December 30. You can read more about it here. The full text of the report is also available as a .pdf.