Alexander G. Skutt Recipient of First Miriam Bass Award

McBooks Press president gets first annual award for Creativity in Independent Publishing
The Association of American Publishers announced that Alexander G. Skutt, President of McBooks Press, Inc. is the recipient of the first annual Miriam Bass Award for Creativity in Independent Publishing.

The award, to be given annually, was created to honor the memory of the many contributions that Miriam Bass made to the book publishing community. It is co-sponsored by AAP, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, and National Book Network (NBN) and carries a $5,000 cash prize, which will be fully funded by Rowman & Littlefield and NBN.

Mr. Skutt was nominated by his staff in recognition of the extraordinary creativity he demonstrated after his company suffered a $330,000 loss resulting from the bankruptcy of its distributor. According to the staffers who nominated him, Mr. Skutt's "integrity and fairness with distributors, authors, and staff inspired everyone's trust . . . so that McBooks stayed viable." When told that he had been selected to receive the award, Mr. Skutt commented that receiving the award was meaningful for two reasons, both because he knew Miriam Bass personally and found her to be "a wonderful woman who was tremendously helpful in advising McBooks Press on all sorts of publishing matters," and also because the nomination was submitted by his co-workers at McBooks without his knowledge. "I find it surprising, even remarkable, to be judged 'creative' by the people I work closest with every day. I am very grateful to our staff. They deserve most of the credit for overcoming McBooks Press's recent challenges," he said.

AAP President and CEO Patricia Schroeder noted that "The award committee felt that Mr. Skutt's outstanding achievements over the past year demonstrated just the type of creativity that Miriam was so supportive of during her esteemed career."

Jed Lyons, who presented the award on February 25 at the AAP Annual Meeting for Smaller and Independent Publishers, said that "Miriam Bass was one of the most creative people I have ever known. Up in heaven, she is thrilled to know that Alex SKutt won this award. He is the kind of up-and-coming, passionate book publisher that really got her jazzed up."

The award committee represents a variety of segments of the book publishing industry. The members are Patricia Bostelman, Barnes & Noble; Peter Burford, Burford Books; Kelley Maier, Ingram Book Group; Phil Ollila, Borders; Nora Rawlinson, Publishers Weekly; and John Whitman, Turtle Books.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's approximately 300 members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field and a range of educational materials for the elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and professional markets. Members also produce computer software and electronic products and services.