REAPING THE REWARDS OF RECYCLING
'Humanure' an Amazon.com #1 Category Bestseller Two Years Running, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year finalist; Finalist in the Ben Franklin Awards for Excellence in Publishing
UPDATE! May 22, 2000: The Independent Publisher Book Awards 2000 has selected its winners, which include:
THE TEN OUTSTANDING BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
These results have been posted on the Independent Publisher website in time for the start of BookExpo. Award plaques and certificates were delivered on Friday morning, June 2, at BookExpo, or mailed to those who didn't attend. Specific title judging reports were sent to all publishers. Thanks to all 550 publishers that entered, and congratulations to you all for your excellent work.
Who would have ever thought that a book about composting --especially one proposing how to safely recycle human excrement -- would run to the top of Amazon.com's bestseller lists two years in a row? Or become a finalist in ForeWord Magazine's 1999 Book of the Year competition and in the Ben Franklin Awards for Excellence in Publishing?
Certainly not Joseph Jenkins, author and tradesperson, whose success with The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Humanure has earned him some dubious titles such as "King of Compost" and other unmentionables, and placed him on the receiving end of some pretty off-color jokes, but has also gained him some recognition as both an author and publisher.
"I never expected it [Humanure] to go anywhere," Jenkins said. "I didn't know how anybody would react, so I expected the worst. I estimated that maybe one person in a million would be interested."
However, since 1994, when the book was first published, Humanure has sold out four printings and is now in its fifth printing and second edition, having over thirteen thousand copies in circulation. In fact, Jenkins quickly sold out his first print run of 660 books, which, he thought, would "last him a lifetime;" he now sells approximately 500 of his books every month.
He has been contacted by hundreds of people all over the United States, and has sold his Humanure books in over 31 different countries around the world. The book has been written up by many media, including the Associated Press, Mother Earth News, Natural Health magazine, and Whole Earth Review and has been talked about on Canadian Broadcast radio, British Broadcast radio, Radio America, and even the Howard Stern show.
Using a biological, low-technology system of thermophilic composting, Jenkins has successfully recycled his own family's organic material for over twenty years. The end product: hygienic, nutrient-rich humus, is used to amend the soils in his food garden. Humanure was the inevitable result of Jenkins' two decades of practical experience with composting and organic gardening paired with extensive research gleaned from scientific journals and texts.
But this is much more than a book on composting. In it, Jenkins exposes many environmental problems that have resulted from our view of organic materials as "wastes," and reveals what he feels are the underlying reasons why our relationship with the Earth is so dysfunctional. A review in HortIdeas (September 1999) touted Humanure as "one of the most important environmental exposÚs of all time," ranking right up there with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
Most recently, however, Humanure has received accolades through Amazon.com, an on-line bookstore that is, without argue, probably the largest on-line bookseller in the world, offering 4.7 million books for sale. For two years running, Humanure has achieved Amazon.com #1 bestseller status in the category of Soil Science (1998), and this year, in the Nature and Ecology: Recycling category. Jenkins' other self-published book, The Slate Roof Bible, was an Amazon.com #1 bestseller in 1998, in the Roofing category, and ranked #2 in 1999.
Humanure was one of seven finalists in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award program. More than 1,000 titles were entered in the 1999 competition, and award-winners were selected in twenty-three categories. ForeWord Magazine established this award in 1998 to recognize the vital books published by small, independent and university presses.
The Handbook is also one of three finalists in the Gardening/Agriculture category for the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Awards for Excellence in Publishing, a prestigious national award sponsored by the Publisher's Marketing Association, a non-profit trade association of 3,400 publishers. This year, over 1,600 entries were submitted, of which 165 were chosen as finalists. Award winners will be announced in June at the Book Expo America, the largest publishing trade fair in the world, which will be hosted in Chicago at the McCormick Place.
Source: Jenkins Publishing, PO Box 607, Grove
City, PA 16127. To order, phone: 1-800-639-4099.