Celebrating local authors has been The Golden Notebook’s mission since the Woodstock shop first opened in 1978. When James Conrad and his business partner Jackie Kellachan took over the bookstore in 2010, they happily inherited the legacy of promoting Valley talent. They will expand on that legacy in 2023 by launching the Golden Notebook Press, a full boutique publishing house with a regional focus.
“We’ve always thought a publishing arm would really enhance our store,” says Conrad, “because we know what sells and what people want. We’ve worried about what might happen to a half dozen of the books that we sell frequently. If they went out of print, what would we do? But if we had a publishing division, we could tell the author, ’you’re not going out of print.’”
The new press will launch with Still Life at Eighty, a memoir by Woodstock resident Abigail Thomas, the critically acclaimed author of What Comes Next and How To Like It and A Three Dog Life, which was named one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
“Abigail Thomas is an old friend,” says Conrad. “She approached me a year ago and said she’d prefer not to work with a big publishing house for her next book. And she would like me to do it.”
Conrad, an author and former creative director, describes himself as a “kind of a one-man band” managing every aspect of the publishing process, though he is looking forward to building a staff. Future publications will be penned by local authors or focus on the region. One upcoming title is How to Lose Friends and Influence No One by Woodstock resident Mary Giuliani. “Her book is a fun, wacky memoir about her career as a caterer to the rich and famous in New York City,” says Conrad. Other upcoming titles include a music industry book and a mystery by Greg Herren.
If industry response so far is any indication, The Golden Notebook Press will be a success. When Conrad asked Publishers Group West, a top book distribution company, if they wanted to distribute the Thomas memoir, they jumped at the chance. “So, suddenly we had world-wide distribution,” says Conrad. “That changed the game. I guess we are now an official publishing house.”