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 was 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 it was decided to try to formalize a group and expand membership. Additional individuals at this formative stage of the group were Jack Ervin from the University of Minnesota 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 to come up with titles that are meaningful. Well, as Harry Lerner says, 'They 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.
Membership has grown over the years. We have a mailing list of approximately 150 with an average of 50 dues-paying organizations. Membership at first was restricted to publishers only. We have since allowed membership to distributors, editors, and even a few printers."
(Note: We now have a mailing list of approximately 500 organizations and individuals).