A Visit to Mountain Press

Everyone probably assumes that Missoula, Montana, is not a major center of the publishing trade. And mostly, everybody is right. But despite Missoula only being the second largest city in Montana, a state that doesn’t even have a million people living in it, the town’s not too bad off. In addition to Adventure Cyclist magazine (circulation 40,000), the magazine of the Adventure Cycling Association, there’s the publishing arm of the “conservation” group Boone and Crockett Club*, as well as book publishers Mountain Press.

Last Friday I got to meet up with Mountain Press. They specialize in natural history titles, from their Roadside Geology series to a couple of children’s books I find amusing, called Nature’s Yucky! (“Did you know that…turkey vultures poop on their own feet?”) Their content overlaps a lot with the subjects I was working with when doing museum projects for institutions like the National Park Service and Oregon State Parks.

Mountain Press is one of many small publishers finding they need to get into the ebook game. And they thought that I, a fresh young MPub in Missoula, might be the catalyst to get that project moving. (Meanwhile, I was afraid they were thinking I was the great white hope, and was much relieved to find that wasn’t necessarily the case.) Interspersed between a friendly lunch at The Good Food Store and a tour of the building, we talked about what I might be able to do for them when I’m not running to get Greg Siple another muffin because I accidentally stole his.

I started by offering up a “better practices” guide for ebook production written by five of my lovely classmates last semester, under the group name the ePublicans. It’s available online in wiki form, a downloadable ebook, or my personal favorite, the PDF.

Where will this lead? I’m not sure exactly. In the meantime though, they were gracious enough to give me some of their black and white back stock: Roadside Geology of Montana, and Roadside History of Oregon and Montana. And it was nice to be around people who not only highly respected the MPub program, but had a personal relationship with a couple of my professors. And if that wasn’t enough, I was introduced to my favorite cat in Montana—the extremely affectionate Jack Black the Cat.

*=”We want to save them…so we can kill them!”

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