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Kew Gardens Reading Group to Publish E-Books of Writers' Works

QUEENS — A Kew Gardens publishing company is promoting local writers and their work by creating free e-books in conjunction with a reading series held at a popular local coffee shop, the publisher said.

The REZ Reading Series, which presents works of local writers, and is held at Odradeks Coffee House in Kew Gardens, has been drawing crowds from around the neighborhood that residents say has many authors but no library or bookstores.

The organizer, Deborah Emin, 64, herself a writer and the owner of an e-publishing company, Sullivan Street Press, said she was looking for ways to promote local writers and to circulate their works among a broader audience.

In collaboration with Kevin Callahan, a local book producer and designer, she decided to start publishing free e-books containing poems and stories read during each event.

Emin, who has lived in Kew Gardens since 2005, said she wants “to make reading not just a pastime but an event, by bringing authors to the community to share their work.”

“The purpose of the e-book is to give those who attended the readings a chance to linger longer with the work they heard and to provide the work to those who weren’t able to attend,” she said.

She said each e-book, downloadable to iPads and Kindles, will contain the biography of each author, and the works in the order they were read. It will also include full version of stories that during readings could only be read in short excerpts.

The first e-book for the series, which Emin calls REZ E-Reader, was published on Thursday on the Sullivan Street Press website, and features the work of 11 writers, including Aida Zilelian, Aaron Adler, Justin Martin and Enrique Flores-Galbis, who read during an event held in March.

Artwork for the E-Readers, including paintings and sketches, will be made by artists from the neighborhood. The first edition has paintings by local artist and activist, Mandy Gor.

In about two weeks Emin is planning to publish the second E-Reader with the works of four authors who read during a reading earlier this week, including a Forest Hills poet Liza Charlesworth.

Emin founded Sullivan Street Press about four years ago after her publisher in Chicago went bankrupt and pulped her books.

She said e-publishing has many advantages. “Financially it’s just easier and you don’t have to warehouse anything,” she said. “But also we do it for the environment because the environmental impact of printing books is huge.”

The Sullivan Street Press website is also entirely powered by wind and solar energy, Emin said.

So far, Emin has published two of her own books – Scags at 7 and Scags at 18, part of a planned series of four books following the adventures of a female character.

Next week, Emin plans to publish a book by Paul Graham “Eating Vegan in Vegas.” Graham, a food blogger, writes about his experiences of eating one vegan meal per day in restaurants in Las Vegas. The book will include a guide to 150 restaurants serving vegan food in Vegas.