Book Publisher Targets Hip-Hop

Riverhead Trade recently launched Riverhead/Freestyle,

a new literary division of publishing giant Penguin Group. The new division will

focus on feeding a growing demand for books by "Hip-Hop" consumers.

The company just published the first title, "Blinking

Red Light." The book was first self-published by the author, Mister Mann

Frisby, former reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.

The novel by Frisby focuses on man who's life

spirals out of control when he and his crew become involved in committing sexual

acts for cash.

"The incredible success of some of the self-published

titles in this category indicates that there is a hungry -- and probably under-served

-- readership for books that share the energy and themes of Hip-Hop culture,"

co-publisher Julie Grau said. "We see books that reflect this movement,

both fiction and nonfiction, as an area of growth," Grau said.

Riverhead/Freestyle will also release "The

Wu-Tang Manual," a book about the origins and story of the Wu-Tang Clan

by Wu themselves as well as two self-empowerment books from Tariq "K-Flex"


Nasheed, a former hustler and self-proclaimed

"Hip-Hop dating guru," has already various titles including "Play

or Be Played," "The Art of Mackin' and "The Mack Within."

"We believe that the Riverhead identity

is clearly defined, so by creating this line within the imprint, we can signal

to the publishing industry and to consumers that we are branching out into new

areas of the bookstore," Grau reflected.