A Book Apart publishes ‘brief books for people who make websites’.
A Book Apart is a publisher of design-related books, co-founded by designer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Zeldman (the creator of A List Apart). A Book Apart is recognized for their focus on quality, clarity, and brevity. Even if you haven’t read a book from the A Book Apart collection before, you’d probably recognize the design: simple fonts, solid-colored covers, clean designs.
Katel LeDu, the CEO of A Book Apart, says that the shared passion for design is what makes A Book Apart so successful.
“A Book Apart started as a small project, sprung from the foundation that sharing the insights and knowledge of passionate folks working in the field, presented through an engaging narrative, would make learning about working on the web accessible to everyone,” she says. “We’re editors and publishers who are committed to challenging our authors and readers to do their best work.”
Prior to A Book Apart, Katel worked at National Geographic. Although A Book Apart is a small shop in comparison to National Geographic, Katel says there are similarities to both work environments. “The thing I’ve found to be very similar, is that when collaboration is open and valued, it’s much easier—and enjoyable!—to create a successful product. I’m proud to have been able to build a strong process, dependable workflows, and a passionate network of creators interested in connecting with a larger community.” In the move from National Geographic to A Book Apart, Katel says she was excited to take the things she’d learned within the big NatGeo teams and apply it to the more focused work vision of A Book Apart.
The design industry may be becoming more digital-focused, but that doesn’t mean print books are out of fashion.
According to Katel, approximately 30% of A Book Apart’s sales consistently come from paperback book sales.
“Though more and more design and tech resources have become available online or in digital-format-only, we’re really proud of the fact that we continue to make a physical product that people love,” says Katel. “While we want to be competitive, we also want to make sure that no matter the format, we’re delivering quality content that’s approachable regardless of the reader’s skill level. We’ll continue exploring ways to do that effectively, and I think more importantly, we’ll seek out new and inspired voices to share their knowledge.”
Not sure where to start reading?
We asked Katel to pick out a few of her favorites from the A Book Apart catalogue. Here’s what she chose:
- In Ethan Marcotte’s pioneering Responsive Web Design and Erika Hall’s incisive Just Enough Research, we became adept at examining emerging topics in programming, practice, and methodology.
- David Demaree’s Git for Humans and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s & Eric Meyer’s Design for Real Life bring clarity and approachability to very complex topics.
- Lara Hogan’s Demystifying Public Speaking is a friendly guide that’s both reassuring and empowering.
- Our Briefs, like Geri Coady’s Color Accessibility Workflows, Remy Sharp’s Working the Command Line, and Dan Mall’s Pricing Design, serve as indispensable guides to essential fundamentals, of-the-moment techniques, or deep nerdery on a single topic. While some of our books aren’t necessarily for absolute beginners, there’s something for everyone in each of them.