I started BenBella because I wanted to change my life. I wanted to move from the fast-paced but intangible role of running consulting firms to the slower but more concrete world of books and writing, a world I’ve always loved.
I had no illusions that the world needed another publisher (the world probably needs fewer). I had a vague hope that with my background I could bring a few new marketing ideas to our modest enterprise, enough to allow us to thrive in a tough environment. But I honestly never imagined that we would do anything important that wouldn’t have been done just as well by someone else if we never existed.
But I was wrong. It seems, amazingly, there is always room to make a real difference.
I can think of a few examples since we started BenBella in 2002, but none more important than this latest.
The book I’m talking about is Roy Eskapa’s The Cure for Alcoholism, a book that very well might never have been published without us. The publishing industry was skeptical, and rightly so, as everyone knows there is no cure for alcoholism. But the proposal was solid and backed by real science and clinical studies. I dug up the research papers and read them. They supported Roy’s book (based on the work of scientist Dr. David Sinclair). I had no idea whether the book was right, but I knew it was legitimate.
I still don’t know if the book will be a success. But I do know it’s changed the lives of hundreds of people for the better, including someone I care very much about. And I know things are happening. The media is starting to accept that this is for real (and there may be some big things in the works.) The medical community is starting, slowly, to pay attention. Spontaneously, forums and blogs have sprung up.
We’re just at the beginning of this.
I started BenBella because I wanted to change my life and I succeeded in doing that. We’ve also, with Roy’s book, with The China Study, and others, changed the lives of thousands. Sometimes it’s hard to be in publishing. We live in the Internet age, and every publisher has secretly questioned the value of what he does in a world that has become almost contemptuous of the physical book.
Publishing is fun, and most days it’s fun to go into the office, to work with my wonderful co-workers and our fantastic authors. And usually that’s enough. But when it isn’t I remember that sometimes we really do get to make a difference in people’s lives.
In the end, that’s why we publish.