By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

My first book, ‘Little People,’ is back in print — and this time there’s a Kindle edition, too

I am thrilled to report that my first book is back in print — and this time there’s an e-book to go with it.

“Little People: Learning to See the World Through My Daughter’s Eyes,” first published in 2003 by Rodale, is a book about dwarfism, part memoir, part journalism, part science and history. In 2008 Rodale allowed it to go out of print, and the rights reverted to me. I put together a print-on-demand paperback edition through the Harvard Book Store, which enabled me to sell a handful of copies over the years. Copies were produced by a printer called the Espresso Book Machine, nicknamed “Paige M. Gutenborg.” I wasn’t entirely happy with it, mainly because the cover was sticky to the touch. But it sufficed, and I later wrote about it for Nieman Reports.

Then, earlier this year, I was poking around the website for “Little People” to see if there was anything that needed to be updated. There sure was. I discovered that in April 2022 the Harvard Book Store had shut down Gutenborg and ended its print-on-demand service. I’m not aware that I was ever informed of this, but maybe I missed the email.

After considering a few alternatives, I decided to go with Amazon. It was the most convenient, offering high quality at a decent price. I was going to have to go to Amazon to set up a Kindle edition anyway, so I figured I might as well let them handle the print version, too. I’m very happy with the results. For the first time, I have a professional-looking paperback with a glossy, non-sticky cover. It includes the 2019 Foreword written by my daughter, Becky Kennedy. I don’t expect to sell a lot of copies, but maybe there will be an uptick. You can find it here.

I want to thank Andrew Blauner, who was my agent for “Little People” all those years ago. He and I spent some time earlier this summer looking into whether a publishing house might be interested, but nothing came of it. Still, it wasn’t for lack of trying, and I am, as ever, grateful for his support. Thanks, too, to photographer Tsar Fedorsky, who took the original cover photo and gave me permission to use it for the new editions.

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  1. Jon Bresler

    Our firm does print on demand, ‘perfect bound’ soft cover books. We are a fine commercial printer out of NBPT.
    Friends don’t let friends use A mazon.

    • dkennedy56

      Jon, I put out a call for ideas on Facebook in April.

  2. Dan

    Glad to hear that you’re reissuing your book! It feels like it’s important to keep that in print.

    But I wish you hadn’t put it on Amazon. You know how you report on the importance of local newspapers? Local bookstores are equally important, and they are being driven out of existence by Amazon’s business practices. Similarly, Amazon has depressed wages for authors over the past two decades. When my wife self-published her niche book on composting toilets 20 years ago, book sales were a significant part of her income as a freelance writer and journalist. But Amazon’s predatory pricing practices (there’s no other term for it) have continuously eaten away at her income.

    You don’t need to go with Amazon. There are other, and better, options out there. I used to self-publish a very niche book, where I knew I was only going to sell less than a hundred copies. The overall production quality has been excellent, much better than Amazon (the Amazon self-publishing platform is notorious for smudged printing on interior pages). One nice thing about is that it allows your book to be picked up by independent bookstores, as well as being sold online by Barnes and Noble. also allows you to publish and sell ebooks. books are going to be more expensive than Amazon self-published books, but in my opinion the increase in production quality is more than worth it.

    I’d be happy to talk you through how to use to self-publish; feel free to email me. Anything I can do to keep you off the monster that is Amazon.

    P.S.: I don’t recommend the self-publishing route my wife uses for her books. She gets a few hundred copies of her books printed at a time by a printing company, then we warehouse them in our apartment as she sells them. Yes, she makes more money that way. But you also have to live with the inventory. We used to have a couch that was actually some boards and pillows that rested on top of boxes of unsold books.

    • dkennedy56

      Dan, two points. First, I ended my experience with the Harvard Book Store feeling pissed off and used, which soured me on trying to track down another independent. Amazon’s tools are very easy to use, and I was able to make multiple revisions without spending any money. Second, I strongly suspect that most of the (very few) sales I’m going to get will come from the Kindle edition, so I was going to end up doing business with them anyway.

  3. Andrea Powers

    Someone on Reddit was looking for a book on dwarfism a while ago and I linked to your book page. I can’t search my own comments so I can’t find the original post to update it with this news. It would have been in a book-related subreddit. Maybe someone else can find it.

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