"Our books always have the picante taste of the border, its politics and rasquache ways."
After thirty-six years in business, El Paso-based publisher Cinco Puntos Press was sold to New York-based publisher Lee & Low. Cinco Puntos Press, owned by husband-and-wife Bobby and Lee Byrd, was dedicated to publishing Chicano authors and stories “with roots on the U.S./Mexico Border.”
Cinco Puntos developed an impressive catalog of award winners and collector’s items -- including Dagoberto Gilb’s Winners on the Pass Line, Joe Hayes’s La Llorona/The Weeping Woman, and Morris Award winner Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero -- since their opening in 1985. Their unique publishing highlighted diversity without making it the sole focus of their novels and the press published some bestselling bilingual titles in Spanish and English.
Bobby Byrd told Publishers Weekly, "Over time, this neighborhood expanded to include the cultural diversity of all human experience, but our books always have the picante taste of the border, its politics and rasquache ways."
In addition to their online book catalog, Cinco Puntos Press’s brick-and-mortar location has begun the process of moving their inventory to Lee and Low after having a final party on July 28th. The couple cites the hardships due to Coronavirus among the reasons behind closing shop.
Cinco Puntos’s publishing purpose, to “make a difference in the way you see the world,” meshes well with Lee and Low’s “about everyone - for everyone” mission. The latter was founded by Chinese Americans with a goal to expand the focus of literature in their primary focus of publishing children’s books.
Cinco Puntos is the first non-children-focused publisher that Lee and Low has acquired, and the addition of 130 titles to Lee and Low’s catalog builds on their overall diversity of perspectives and stories. The publisher has fostered this trend as well through the creation of awards like the New Voices Award, which supports picture book authors of color.
The Cinco Puntos catalog of books will continue to be available for purchase after its move to Lee and Low. Bobby and Lee Byrd intend to have the shop at 701 Texas Avenue in El Paso closed by mid-September and are selling remaining furniture and fixtures. Per their Facebook, “Stop by from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday (or any day, just give us a call) to look things over. We'll be glad to see you.”
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