IVP - Andy Unedited

May 26, 2015

Forty Years Ago

Forty years ago the editorial department at IVP consisted of Jim Sire and me with Linda Doll working half time. We put out about twenty-four books a year. Today the editorial department consists of seventeen people and we do about a hundred and ten books a year.

Forty years ago IVP had not published any LifeGuides and had not originated any major reference books. There was no IVP Academic and no Formatio. Since then we've sold 15 million LifeGuides, have produced over a dozen dictionaries and other major reference works as well as four commentary series, over a hundred Formatio titles and have a robust academic imprint.

Forty years ago IVP 5206.jpgwas housed in a former Buick dealership in Downers Grove. Offices were upstairs with shipping and warehousing downstairs. Brown paper covered the dealership show windows to hide the steel racking of books and other supplies from public view. Today we work in an office three miles away built specifically for our operation, efficiently laid out. Two warehouses on the same site holding two million books.ivp front 2.JPG

Forty years ago I had just previously been working with InterVarsity on campus in St. Louis for two years. I had brown hair, no beard and was twenty pounds lighter. OK, I was twenty-five pounds lighter. But forty years ago today I didn't run five miles. Today I did.

Forty years ago Gerald Ford was president and the Vietnam War had just ended the month before with the fall of Saigon. There were no cell phones, no internet, no ebooks and no reality television (some things were better in those days).

Forty years ago John Alexander was president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Jim Nyquist was head of IVP. We edited manuscripts with, yes, blue pencil, and used carbon paper to make copies of letters we sent.

god who is there.jpegForty years ago people actually went to bookstores to buy our books. IVP had no marketing department, just a sales team and a marketing consultant. We were perhaps best known for books of cultural analysis written by a knicker-wearing American living in Switzerland--Francis Schaeffer. Our bestseller that year was How to Give Away Your Faith by Paul Little. This year our bestseller is Called by Mark Labberton.

Forty years ago I did not expect to spend my career at IVP.

Forty years ago today was my first day on the job at IVP. Now I see the grace in it.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:23 AM | Comments (10)

May 15, 2015

Ode to On Writing Well

William Zinsser, author of the classic book On Writing Well, died this week. I have recommended his book more often and sold more copies of it than any other of many excellent options. The first hundred pages are a must for anyone writing non-fiction of any kind.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:23 AM | Comments

April 14, 2015

Understated Powers

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." From the first sentence of The Yellow Birds, we know that we are in capable hands. Kevin Powers is the well-named author who uses his formidable talent with understated power.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:10 AM | Comments

March 24, 2015

Take Note

What to do with footnotes has been a problem since Gutenberg. To some they are an aggravation on par with elevator music and cable company service. To others they are the glory of the published word.

For those who want to be able to follow an author's sources, and for authors who want to make comments that don't interrupt the flow of the main text, notes are indispensible.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:15 AM | Comments (10) are closed

March 10, 2015

April 1865

As we come April 1865.jpegup on the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, a must read is April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik. An historian and diplomat, Winik had the opportunity to see first-hand how civil wars around the world so often end so badly--either in the genocide of the losing side or an interminable guerrilla insurgency. Neither happened in the United States. This the remarkable story of why.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:10 AM | Comments (1) are closed

March 4, 2015

Is Print Better?

Troglodytes like myself have been slow to pick up on technology. You've heard of "early adopters" and "digital natives." I proudly consider myself to be a digital dinosaur. Years after the Kindle arrived, I got one. And just recently I went over to the dark side of a smart phone.

huffington book.jpg

I do find my Kindle handy for carrying around a raft of proposed manuscripts IVP is considering for publication--as well as books we've already published. I generally am happier reading my Kindle when it is light reading. If the book is something I want to slowly study and digest, it's print for me.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:47 AM | Comments (1) are closed

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.