Literary figures as disparate as Germaine Greer and Hunter S. Thompson, Bret Easton Ellis and Margaret Thatcher, appear together on his publishing resume. Now, Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Alfred A Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, can add “Publishers Weekly’s Person of the Year” to that lengthy roster of achievement.
“In an age of constant change and increasing business pressure, the publishing career of Sonny Mehta is a study in the value of staying the course when it comes to doing to great books,” says Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
Each year, the competition for PW’s top individual award is fierce. In 2015, finalists included Joyce Meskis, who has began a two-year process of turning over ownership of the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colo., to married publishing industry veterans Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan.
“Under Meskis’s 41-year stewardship, the Tattered Cover grew from a 950-sq.-ft. bookstore into one of the nation’s most recognizable independents,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.
“It was among the first bookstores to move to a computerized inventory system, and to use a retail website. The Tattered Cover also stood up for our First Amendment,” he explains. “Meskis has been a plaintiff in two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Colorado laws that sought to restrict displaying books that may be harmful to minors. She is perhaps best known for going to court to quash a search warrant for a customer’s book purchase records.”
Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.