Plowing Through Spring Gardening Titles


I swear I’m not addicted to online shopping. It would appear that way, though, from the daily deliveries I’ve been getting. First came a large box of gardening books from the Independent Book Publishers Association. They asked me to be an editorial judge for their annual Benjamin Franklin Awards. These books are either self-published or are being produced by small publishing houses and are a vital part of living in a free society. Many taboo topics or topics not deemed “marketable” by large publishing houses often go unpublished. Organizations like the IBPA provide exposure for small presses and self-published authors.

My other deliveries have been coming from mainstream publishers, delivering requested review copies of Spring gardening titles for an upcoming piece I’m doing for the SF Chronicle. Gardening books are hot right now and many publishers are churning them out. Word on the street, though, is that many authors aren’t being appropriately compensated for their work. As someone who pines to write a book someday, this is troubling news.

Non-celebrity authors actually write their own books, many procure or do their own photography, and basically pour several months of their life into a book. They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t already love the subject. But it is a shame that writing has become a disposable art, like so many skill sets, and the more we can find it for free on various platforms, the less we are willing to pay for it. If you can afford to, buy books, especially when they are peddled by the authors themselves. Often these books have already been bought by them and the proceeds go back to them immediately. There’s a lot of good stuff out there this year so garden, read, and garden some more.