Skip to Content

Indie publishers thriving

23 November 2015

The news from the independent publishing sector is good. The UK Independent Publishers Guild has just published its first report into the independent sector in the UK. What it shows is a thriving picture, with 600 independent publishers and just 15% of the respondents saying that their business is contracting.

Direct to consumer trade is growing, as is business through online retail. Digital sales contributed less than you might expect, with only 12% of sales in ebook format - suggesting that the big companies have found it easier to profit from offering their books in ebook form. 51% of the respondents said that their business was growing, with 48% saying that new channels to market were having a positive effect on their business.

Why does this matter to writers? Because independent publishers offer a different way in to publication from the big publishers. They are more imaginative and experimental in what they do, but they also have to work harder on selling their books and exploiting what may often be the niche market they are publishing for. For many writers an attractive selling point will be the close relationship with the editor - who is more often also the publisher - than you tend to get in a corporate publisher.

Independent publishers have in some cases overcome their disadvantage on the sales side - of not having a powerful and dedicated sales force - by clubbing together to set up sales groups. The UK's Independent Alliance, set up and run by Faber, is a successful example of this. The US Publishers Group West works in a similar way and sells and distributes books for over 100 publishers. These services enable independent publishers to concentrate on their publishing. It is this focus on individual books and authors which many authors find attractive.