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Never set up a publishing company

Doing some desk research today and came upon this, the website of a fellow member of the IPG, St Mark's Press.

St Marks Press closing announcement

In case you're not able to see the image for some reason, here's what the poignant message on the home page says: 

Please note that St Mark's Press has permanently ceased trading.

Thanks to all who have supported us!

(And we've closed because of poor sales. Proof that you can produce books of excellent quality and no-one wants them! And thanks to the examination boards, who publish their own (generally very poor) textbooks, putting everyone else out of business. Competition raises the quality of textbooks and thus of children's education, but we can't compete. My advice: never set up a publishing company because you get paid more for breaking stones. Thank you and goodbye.)

That phrase 'Never set up a publishing company because you get paid more for breaking stones' smacks of bitter disillusionment, but it's sadly a fair point. It was always difficult to make money out of selling books - as long as I've been in the industry it's been a low-margin, risky affair - but today, with free content the oxygen of the internet, it's HIDEOUSLY tough if that's your only source of revenue. 

Which is why publishing is just one of the strands of my business, and why I work with publishers to help them diversity their businesses too. 

It's also proof that producing 'books of excellent quality' alone isn't enough, sadly: marketing is just as important as editorial these days, and perhaps (though it pains my editorial heart to say it) more important, since what we're short on is attention, not content. 

A moment's silence for the passing of another small, quality publisher. 

This entry was posted on 20 April 2017 at 16:07 and is filed under publishing. You can leave a response here.

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