Q&A with Newland Books

Eliza Tudor
Eliza Tudor
February 22, 2023
15 min read
Q&A #005: Angela Dubinger and Sam Knepprath, Newland Books


We are thrilled to announce the talented writers featured in our upcoming inaugural anthology, PLAYING AUTHORS: Robyn Ryle, tova greene, Vinnie Hansen, Amy Halloran, Devon Balwit, Jay Lesandrini, Daphne Fauber, Hank Krutulis, Elle Cee Wallace, Mary Christine Delea, Traci Cumbay, Chris Huntington, Frances Cannon, Corey Michael Dalton, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Joyce Brinkman, Flor Aguilera, and Barbara Shoup. We can't wait to share their incredible work.⁠

We'll introduce our contributors here over the next few months, and we hope that you'll join us in celebrating and supporting them.⁠

Look for PLAYING AUTHORS in Fall 2023.⁠

This month we have a special Q&A with Angela Dubinger and Sam Knepprath of Newland Books.

Angela Dubinger (Left) and Sam Knepprath (Right) of Newland Books

Angela and Sam have created something special with Newland Books. There is such a level of consideration and care in their work. That thoughtfulness and attention to detail is present in everything from the titles they choose, to the images they post, and in how they deliver their books.

Ordering from Newland Books is a pleasurable experience. And who doesn’t want more of that?

Check out their upcoming pop-up shop at Rabble Coffee on Sunday, February 26 from 8 AM to 1 PM.


At OIP, we love the fact that everyone has their own set of "classics" (i.e., books, songs, recipes, comics, food, objects, movies, shows, etc. that shaped you). What were some of your favorite childhood "classics"?


The Disney Channel in the 1980s when it was mostly classic movies where we’d watch Charlie Chaplin films over and over. 45 records from Blondie and Cyndi Lauper placed in a Raggedy Ann and Andy babydoll pillowcase so we could draw them out like an analog jukebox and play them randomly. J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, read too soon in middle school yet the book I’ve reread the most. Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Anne of Green Gables, The Muppet Movie, Watership Down.


I owe pretty much my entire passion for literature to my seventh-grade English teacher Mr. Graf for that he forwent the standard classics to hit us with Robert Newton Peck’s A Day No Pigs Would Die. While the story has all the emotional highs and lows of an Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows, right from the get-go it hits you with so much more visceral imagery and shines a light on the real blood and guts of farm life. As a sheltered kid I was totally horrified and sobbing by the end of it, but after the tears dried it ultimately cemented the idea of just how deep literature can delve. That point on was chasing those feelings through a variety of avenues like Gus Van Sant’s Elephant and Lou Reed’s The Blue Mask.


Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?


Space, for it always feels like I need to be more forward-thinking.


Underwater for sure, the perfect backdrop to encounter one’s own Leviathan.


Favorite word / font / letter?


The practical side of me likes Times New Roman, but I love Garamond.


Womb / Perpetua / F.


What are some things you enjoy doing off-screen? (*your very own digital disruption):


Reading, walking, birding, cooking, singing/listening to music, time with friends, watching films.


The current bulk of my off-screen time is dedicated to lifting and grad school, though making more time to write is the evergreen goal for this year and every year.

Angela Dubinger (Left) and Sam Knepprath (Right) of Newland Books

Snacks while you work–yes/no? If yes, what’s your go-to?

Angela & Sam:

We’ve done our best to leave eating to before and after work minus some tea, pistachios, and dates with tahini. But it’s quickly become a tradition to hit up Love Handle after pop-up shops for a big plate of breakfast food and some coffee -- the all-time favorite being the jalapeno grits with whatever organ meats are on the board.


What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?


A thesaurus, some scissors, a smart phone, a Flair pen, and Goo Gone.


The funny thing for us is that – despite being an online-only bookstore – we try to be as analog as possible. Outside of our phones, a few backdrops, and the books themselves, we really just want to promote great books at a price-point that lets people take the chance on something we’re excited about.


You are hosting a party. Who’s coming? Where and when? What’s being served?(Fictional characters and locales are welcome.)  


Mrs. Dalloway, Yoko Ono, Cate LeBon, Kate Zambreno, Audre Lorde, Esme Shapiro---convening at the Mosquito Supper Club in New Orleans or some small cafe for coffee.


I’m always a bit worried when it comes to meeting my idols (especially authorial idols), so I’d honestly love to have a banquet amongst some of our favorite fellow booksellers like the folks behind Womb House Books, Yeehaw Books, and Forked Road Press. The whole ordeal would have to take place at a bookstore filled with oddities like Von’s Bookstore up in West Lafayette, so the perfect pairing would be catering from Triple X Diner right down the road.


What mashups do you wish existed?


None I can think of!


I’d love to see more modern books illustrated with wood engravings. Something about the attention to detail and the inherent antiquity I think would juxtapose well with books like Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine or most recently Jordan Castro’s The Novelist that deal with mundane tasks and the current malaise.


Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately? (Or, something you are working on that you would like to share?)


I’m currently enjoying the hilarity of The Hearing Trumpet by Leonara Carrington, Claude Chabrol’s French thrillers, and making my own chili gravy for enchiladas. Upcoming reading projects include Jean Rhys’ novels, Joy Williams’ novels, The Trees by Percival Everett, The Waves by Virigina Woolf, My Mother Laughs by Chantal Akerman, Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler, Bee Reaved by Dodie Bellamy, The Light Years by Kate Zambreno, and all of Kate Briggs.


A great source of book-adjacent motivation is a content creator known as PaperBird. His very kinetic approach to discussing books and authors goes far beyond quantitative reviewing (which can be a limiting mindset we all fall victim to from time to time) and each time I watch his stuff I find myself continually engrossed in the greater interconnectivity of the literary scene as a whole and evermore curious about the overlaps in creativity that lie beneath the surface.


What is the origin story for Newland Books?

Angela & Sam:

Being librarians that met at through a librarian party, we became fast friends that would ricochet books off each other endlessly. And while the dream of opening a bookstore was thrown around loftily and often (as any booklover does), it was only up until last year we really looked at each other and asked, “why not actually give it a shot?” We started collecting books we wouldn’t be afraid to own if the project went belly up, drafted a few names and logos, snapped a few photos, and 10 months later that one question has seen us learn and grow and connect with so many readers in the Indy community and beyond.

Newland Books' Logo

You take such incredible photographs of the books you sell. What are some of your all-time favorite book covers? And, what makes a good cover?


I’m a fan of Dorothy Project covers, vintage Harper paperbacks of Virginia Woolf, and Sam and I both love a good Vintage Contemporaries cover (about which the New Yorker just published a story).


I think the key to the great book cover is to find the balance between being evocative and understated. Having a design that leans too far in either direction ends up resulting in something too visually cloying or too slick and completely forgettable. Favorites would have to include Tao Lin’s Taipei for use of typography, Joyce Carol Oates’ The Rise of Life on Earth for integration of artwork, and Gabe Habash’s Stephen Florida for thematic abstraction (much love to Coffee House Press).


What are some of your favorite spots in Indy?

Angela & Sam:

We’d be remiss not to shout out Dear Mom, Rabble Coffee, and Irvington Vinyl & Books. Not only do they provide access to great culture and consumables to the Near East Side and the city at large, they’ve been extremely supportive to our vision from day one and we wouldn’t be here nor made as deep of a connection to our community without them.

Thank you Angela and Sam!

You can find more at Newland Books, and visit their pop-up shop at Rabble Coffee on Sunday, February 26 from 8 AM to 1 PM.


Sign up for our upcoming newsletter, THE GUTENBORG PROJECT, here. Issue One appearing in MARCH! THE GP is a seasonal exploration of the OIP project, as well as a collaborative compendium to explore the craft of ongoingness. Join us in this playful adventure in the quest to celebrate the human and more-than-human in a digital landscape. Make sure to add us to your address book or promotions tab.

Submit your work. General Submissions, open now - March 1, 2023. Take a look at our submission guidelines.

Check out our Instagram for Trivia Tuesday, our monthly gameshow, hosted by Alyssa Preston. On the first Tuesday of every month, we host a series of questions in our IG Stories. The first person to answer the most questions correctly has the chance to win a variety of curiously curated collectibles.

We post regularly about books we love on our Instagram and have a site where you can discover even more. We champion retooled classics, underdogs, and disobedient forms.

We’re putting the final touches on our Merch page. (Here’s a sneak peak!) Drop coming soon. We’re incredibly excited to share these items with you. Every purchase supports our press and the writers/artists/makers we publish.

Merch page in development!
"The Reliable Mug"
"The Digital Manicule"

And continue to follow along on the road to publishing our first project, an anthology, Playing Authors, coming out fall 2023.

At OIP, we are dedicated to publishing the small, strange, and uncategorizable. And, having fun doing it.

Take gentle care. We’re cheering for you!

– Eliza & Everyone at OIP
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