Let me just say, as a fan of small presses and as one whose work has been published by small presses, I think it’s so wonderful that Paul Harding’s Tinkers won the Pulitzer Prize. This novel was published by Bellevue Literary Press, a teeny tiny press out of the NYU School of Medicine that just started publishing fiction a couple of years ago, and only publishes a couple of novels every year.
I recently heard an editor from a major publisher say that if a book at that house sells less than 5,000 copies a year, it goes out of print. Small publishers like Bellevue typically print 3,000 copies or less in the first run, and pay three or four figure advances. This year’s award reminds us that just because a book didn’t get a huge print run or a giant advance, it doesn’t mean it’s minor or bad. It’s also a reminder that some of the best books are published by some of the smallest presses.