Consistency is how brands are built. I buy Land O’ Lakes Butter because I’ve baked with it so many times and it does the trick. There’s certainly something to be said for happenstance, I mean how many other kinds of butter have I realistically tried? But, it’s never let me down, so here we are.
It would be a mistake to look at books like I look at butter. Not all books are designed to bake a cake or lather up toast. Books are incredibly subjective in a way that butter never could be. But, just like butter, there’s value is producing a product that consumers can come to rely on. Since starting this blog I’ve come to rely on certain presses to produce certain kinds of fiction. Pyr has an adventure oriented mentality with all that they produce, and Ace prefers episodic stories. In that way, they’re consistent in the kinds of books they tend to publish.
That’s not really the kind of consistency I’m concerned with though. What I’m concerned about is quality. What press can I most rely on to give me an excellent book? In 2012 there was a press that stood far beyond the others. Don’t misunderstand my point, I’m not calling this press the BEST press of 2012. I mean, how can we really conceptualize who’s producing the BEST books? And how do I rate the BEST book of the year with one press if the next three BEST are from a different press? While Tor publishes by far the most genre books and Del Rey publishes some of the most successful, my most consistent press of 2012 hits the mark more often than of its peers.
With titles like Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Troupe, NK Jemisin’s The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun, T.C. McCarthy’s Exogene and Chimera, Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, Seanan McGuire’s Blackout, Brent Weeks’ The Blinding Knife, KJ Parker’s Sharps, Kim Stanley’s Robinson’s 2312, Jesse Bullington’s The Folly of the World, and Daniel Abraham’s The King’s Blood (and Caliban’s War), the winner of the 2012 Juice Box Award for Most Consistent Press is:
Congratulations! I read more Orbit Books than any other press this year and other than one major slip up (you know who you are!), I was never disappointed. May you sip your Juice Box until it crumples.