I’m always going on about how the future existence of book publishing is guaranteed by the current ease of access to the business. You used to need a sizable pile of cash to finance your first books: now everything costs so much less (and happens so much more quickly), that these capital requirements have evaporated. The future publishing industry may not remain a business characterized by huge conglomerates: I suspect that the next decade may see them breaking up. Publishing is an inherently small-scale business, I contend. Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.

Publishers Weekly brings us an account of Tough Poets Press, a small press bringing back into print forgotten classics, using POD manufacturing and crowdfunding. Their books are available from Amazon.* They mention Kickstarter but I wasn’t able to find any Tough Poets books there, so I’m not sure how the deal works. Maybe you are promised a book in return for a certain level of support — which would make the whole thing even more analogous to subscription publishing.

It is, I have to confess, true that the publisher of Tough Poets Press does admit to not making huge profits, but as I keep saying people don’t get into this business because they are primarily motivated by money. And if they did they’d (mostly) be disappointed: there are lots of easier ways to make a buck. Few if any more satisfying though.


* Though Amazon does have its own print-on-demand operation they are perfectly happy sourcing books from Lightning Source (part of the wholesaler Ingram) where the Tough Poets’ books are set up. Lightning Source print the book and package it in smiling Amazon cardboard, so that when you get the book it looks to you that it came direct from an Amazon warehouse.