Saturday, February 19, 2005

How Stone Bridge Press got its name

Contrary to rumor, which dogged us in the early days, Stone Bridge Press has no relation with, nor is funded by, the Bridgestone Tire Company as a Japanese propaganda arm. Nor is the real owner a Mr Ishibashi, who wishes to remain anonymous. Nor does it have anything to do with a Japanese proverb about how a cautious man taps ahead of himself even on a stone bridge.

In fact, we were going to be called Stone Lantern Press. Had biz cards and a logo and letterhead all designed up and ready to go. Then I found out about the existence of a Stone Lantern Press in the Boston area that did books on bonsai. A little too close subjectwise, so I had to scramble and come up with another name. I had liked Stone Lantern because it sounded solid, grounded, and classical, and it shed light ("wisdom") everywhere around it. Typical fodder for pious publishing promotion. Plus, I had worked on a lot of books on Japanese gardens, and the lantern was my favorite garden element. And, it could be completely non-Japanese in case the, um, niche didn't work out.

When I lost it I went to Stone Bridge for the same reasons I chose the stone lantern, but what I didn't like about it was that it called to mind the logo and motto of the Tuttle company, for whom I had worked in Japan and whom I now (to their amusement no doubt, me being the mosquito to their elephant) considered a rival. But nothing else came to mind.

The name has worked out just fine, except everyone insists on spelling it Stonebridge Press, when it is Stone Bridge Press, three words. Three words!

Somewhere I have the picture of the original Stone Bridge used when we printed up a little brochure announcing our existence. I'll post it after I dig it up.

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