Bluemoose Books is an independent UK publisher which is 'the creation of Kevin Duffy and his wife Hetha. Kevin Duffy has been a publisher's rep for over 20 years and weeps when he enters the 3 for 2 zone that passes for bookstores these days.'
Bluemoose aims 'to give people a chance to read something different.' And they're willing to consider submissions.
Another indie publisher is Halfcut Books. Since they derive part of their funding (they say) from selling minors to the sex industry, and most of it from the Colombian drug-running cartel, they are understandably coy about where they're located.
'If the past 30 years of popular culture has taught us anything,' Halfcut say, 'it's the importance of going out and doing it yourself. Why knock on the doors of faceless shareholding organisations asking to be creatively castrated by committee?'
Well quite, quite. Anyway, one of Halfcut's latest books is Andrew Hook's Residue, a collection of 19 short stories.
Yet another indie outfit, breaking out from an obscure niche labelled 'feminist science fiction for the demanding reader', is the Aqueduct Press. In particular, my attention was drawn by someone (who was it now?) to the work of Wendy Walker.
Finally, Sutton Publishing. This firm only just (I suppose) fits into the category of a small press, but it was certainly never one of the big boys.
The firm was established in 1979, and found a market, of sorts, in dealing with local history books. In 2000 it was bought by Haynes publishing PLC, a company which had its own problems. Haynes once had a pretty solid business, publishing books which taught car owners how to do their own servicing. But then, as the years passed, cars became more and more sophisticated, until do-it-yourself servicing and fixing things became impossible. Hence Haynes looked around for new sources of profit.
Well, it turns out that Sutton wasn't the answer. Haynes have sold it. (Thanks to Clive Keeble for the link.) Last year, Sutton did £3m in turnover, but lost £199,000. The Haynes board says that it will 'continue to pursue new opportunities for expansion.'
PGW and all that
Meanwhile, if small presses in the UK think life is difficult, spare a thought for those US publishers caught up in the bankruptcy of a big US firm, AMS. AMS owned PGW, one of the main book distribution companies.
Says one commentator: 'The final impact of AMS filing bankruptcy is yet to be seen. What’s being predicted is that many small publishers will just disappear without a distributor that serves their needs, and also because many of the moneys they were owed will not be paid to them.'
If you wish to follow every spit and cough of this nasty situation, Radio Free PGW is the place to go.