MBPR is a decades-old volunteer association dedicated to the betterment of Minnesota publishing. The following are excerpts from a talk given by our former treasurer:
To the best of my information, the original concept for a publishers’ networking group came from a man named Alex Fraser. Mr. Fraser came to work for Burgess in the late ’60s from New York. In conversations with associates, he said that what he missed most about New York publishing were the informal meetings and networking with fellow publishers.
At his suggestion, a small group of individuals started meeting for lunch for informational publishing discussions. These first meetings were at the Press Club, which at that time was at the Radisson Hotel. This group included Alex Fraser, Chuck Hutchinson, Sr., from Burgess; Larry Brings of Brings Press; Harry Lerner of Lerner Publishing; and Roland Sebold of Augsburg Press.
After one or several meetings, the individuals decided to try to formalize the group and expand membership. Additional individuals at this formative stage of the group were Jack Ervin from the University of Minnesota Press and John Dwyer of The Liturgical Press.
As the group was forming, they were trying to decide upon a name. We are all familiar with this problem — the creative process involved in coming up with titles that are meaningful. Well, as Harry Lerner said, “We were meeting around a round table and it seemed obvious that the Roundtable would be a good name.” Thus the name, The Minnesota Book Publishers’ Roundtable.
From this beginning, meetings were held on many topics, presented by members of the Roundtable and from individuals with particular publishing-related expertise outside the group.
Today, MBPR is a registered nonprofit organization with a mailing list of close to a thousand book publishing professionals. It is governed by an elected board of directors from within the membership and has become a vital part of the Minnesota book publishing landscape, facilitating community among publishing professionals throughout the region.