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CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF BOOKS & CO.
Eight, Arizona PBS launches its 20th Anniversary season of Books & Co.
with 13 new episodes and a multitude of online resources

PHOENIX -- (April 5, 2013)  Despite massive changes in the publishing industry, the state of books remains strong. The publishing industry makes headlines with speculation about whether e-readers will make physical books obsolete, or whether to go with Kindle, Nook or tablet, book stores may be closing, but book sales, traditional and electronic, are holding their own. Book clubs are a growing phenomenon, “what’s on your coffee table?” is still a dependable conversation starter, and the Eight, Arizona PBS production Books & Co. is celebrating 20 years of bringing viewers conversations with top contemporary authors, and exciting new finds.

In 1993, long before Oprah’s picks and celebrity book clubs, Eight, Arizona PBS introduced Books & Co. The series, developed and produced locally in Arizona, was based on a simple premise. Eight invited writers to join its hosts – who are distinguished writers themselves – to discuss their work and the craft of writing. Over the years Books & Co. has captured some remarkably candid moments as more than 150 guests have shared their thoughts, moods, and even intellectual quirks.

April 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Books & Co., and Eight, Arizona PBS is celebrating with all-new episodes – its biggest season in 15 years – and an expanded broadcast schedule.  Host Alberto Rios, ASU Regents’ Professor of English, award-winning author and poet – and also the very first Books & Co. guest in 1993 – welcomes a new guest each week to Eight’s studios for a half-hour of wide-ranging conversations, including fresh faces on the literary scene, as well as established and prominent writers.

Eight’s back-catalog of authors from all literary genres includes familiar names like Sherman Alexie, David Baldacci, Ann Brashares, Clive Cussler, E.L. Doctorow, Diana Gabaldon, Barbara Kingsolver, Yann Martel, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult and Anne Rice. The diversity of writers and subject matter has been collected into an online archive, at www.azpbs.org/books.

The website is designed to be a resource for book clubs and for others to choose titles and authors or to develop discussion topics, and includes:

  • Video or audio podcasts for all episodes
  • Extended interviews and host’s impressions from more recent episodes
  • Interview transcripts for many episodes
  • Book summaries with brief author biographies, for every episode.

On Sunday, April 7 at 2:30 p.m., best-selling author Sue Grafton joins host Alberto Rios to kick off Eight’s new season, with Jennifer Spiegel, Betty Webb and Tom Leveen appearing in the weeks that follow. Sundays at 2:30 p.m. throughout May, June and into July, viewers can enjoy new episodes of Books & Co., an Eight original production made possible by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

About Eight, Arizona PBS

Eight, Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource. For 50 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Eight achieves its mission through the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 86 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit azpbs.org.

Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.