Hugh Howie and the self-publishing community have attempted (succeeded, I guess) in taking over the term “indie publisher”. They want it to mean a self-publisher who may publish more than just his/her own books.

We older observers still think of an independent publisher as being a “traditional” publishing company which is not part of a conglomerate or owned by venture capitalists or bankers. Faber & Faber is an excellent example. Here’s a link to a Publishing Perspectives interview with Toby Faber, formerly Managing Director, who addressed the UK Independent Publishers Guild’s spring conference on 3 March. (Yes, indie-pushers, they even have an organization. There’s also an Independent Book Publishers Association in USA.) One of the things about independent publishers is that some of them will ultimately grow into the sort of behemoth so reviled by the indie publisher crowd. Bennet Cerf didn’t sit down and decide to set up an international publishing giant. He published a few good books, then a few more; and one thing lead to another, and then suddenly, there’s PRH!

One of the interesting points Mr. Faber makes is that the key quality needed by the growing independent publisher (or really any publisher) is luck or good judgement in hiring people. Hire interesting editors and you’ll get to publish interesting books. Publish interesting books, and with luck, you’ll get to publish successful books.