Here’s an article about how Perseus Books Group is closing down two of its imprints: Carroll & Graf and Thunder’s Mouth Press. The further away I get from my indie-publishing days, the less I can understand how any of them stay afloat. This passage summed up how I tried to see things back then:
“When you see the book world conglomeratizing, it can only mean less diversity of voices,” said Johnny Temple, publisher of Akashic Books, a Brooklyn-based imprint distributed by Perseus. “When I sign up a book, it matters more that I love it than that I’ve identified a good marketing niche for it. That’s the real essence of independent publishing — it’s not a deal, it’s supposed to be a labor of love.”
Then I lost the love.
I hope the founders of those presses got a decent purchase price when they joined up with Avalon Publishing (which was later acquired by Perseus), but I have a feeling that I can see where the “labor of love” part collided with the “good marketing niche” part:
“At Carroll & Graf, we bridged the gap between small, lesser-known presses and the larger houses when it comes to gay literature,” said Don Weise, a senior editor who is losing his job. “In the four years that I’ve been here, I’ve acquired more than 100 books, and no one has ever told me no, I couldn’t do that. In the book world, that’s unheard of.”
I probably would’ve moved his attribution, along with the “senior editor who is losing his job” part to the end of the paragraph, to make my point.