Dave Eggers, Newspaper Publisher?

David Ulin for the Los Angeles Times:

The novelist’s grand print experiment — $16 a copy — hits S.F. streets and beyond this week. It’s a one-shot deal, but he hopes it will remind people of the form’s potential and viability.

Reporting from San Francisco – Dave Eggers doesn’t look like a newspaper baron. At 39, wearing a baseball cap and hiking boots, the author — whose most recent project is the screenplay for “Where the Wild Things Are” — appears more an older brother to the interns who work feverishly in the Mission District offices of McSweeney’s, the independent publisher Eggers founded with the proceeds from his bestselling 2000 memoir, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

In addition to books and a monthly magazine, McSweeney’s publishes a literary journal, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the new issue of which is set to appear here today in a form that confounds every trend in publishing: a 300-plus-page Sunday-style broadsheet newspaper called the San Francisco Panorama, with which Eggers and company mean to celebrate the glory of the form. Featuring news and sports as well as stand-alone food and arts sections, a magazine and a 96-page pullout Book Review, the Panorama is both homage and conversation starter.

“We don’t pretend to have the solutions,” Eggers says. “We’re just asking a few questions. We admit how little we know, but we’re trying to luxuriate in print and maybe remind people of everything it can do.”

McSweeney’s’ projects are marked by an intention to break boundaries, and nowhere is this more true than with the quarterly. A 2005 issue was published as a bundle of mail, and other issues have come in a variety of shapes and styles.

The Panorama will be big, its pages 15 by 22 inches, and lavishly laid out, with attention to color and graphics. A two-page spread in the food section illustrates how to make bruschetta, beginning with the butchering of a lamb. The sports section features a gallery of drawings from the World Series, laid out to resemble something from a newspaper of 80 years ago…

[continues in the Los Angeles Times]


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