Indie Book PublishersThe Indie Book Publisher
Rapidly expanding independent publishers, 2017
During the more than 20 years that PW has been running its fast-growing freelance publishing business, it is difficult to find another year in which publishers have experienced such remarkable levels of expansion on the prestigious PW-listed. In 2016, five of the eleven publishers on this year's ranking recorded triple-digit sales increases over 2014, and two publishers recorded sales increases of over $10 million last year.
This year' s most profitable book was created in 2014 but did not go on sale until 2015. The Cottage Door press, which produces children's literature, published 18 magazines in 2015 and another 82 magazines last year. In 2017, it is planning to release 50. The workforce will also double from nine to 19 between 2014 and 2016, and preparations are underway to move from Barrington, Illinois, to a major plant in Chicago's suburban district of Déerpark.
In 2016, Cottage Door's turnover increased by 558% compared to the year before. In 2015, the publisher's début portfolio concentrated on baby and toddler books up to the ages of three, but the company plans to extend its reach to four- and five-year-olds, starting with a series of books that will be released in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution.
Although Cottage Door is a young business, its obvious late night achievement may be due to the fact that most of its employees are veteran children's publishers - especially its creator Richard Maddrell, who held the position of Publications International Co. until his pension. According to Melissa Tigges, the focus is on high-quality literature that is "above the latest trends" - such as STARM and STAM - and "hot formats", such as upholstered cardboard boxes, lift-a-flap, touch-and-feel, sound making and technical papers.
Since the publication of the first mailing in 2012, Callisto Media has been focusing on the same recipe for success: the increase in magazine output, the sale of more issues per magazine and the expansion of distributors. These targets were met in 2016 for Holly Smith's sales, according to v-p, and sales increased 111% year-on-year.
Revenues last year were 286% higher than in 2014, and the company's revenues exceeded $10 million last year. In 2016, Smith says Callisto had several "highly successful" front list publications, among them Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook, Kid Chef and The Whole 9 Mounts. And she added that the publisher's back list of 383 publications has become a "very powerful part of our success".
Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Quartet's recent increase in European Editions' appeal has led to a 156% increase in turnover in 2015 compared to 2014 and a further 47% increase in turnover in 2016. Michael Reynolds, Senior Writer, recognizes the importance of Ferrante to the 12-year-old company's continued prosperity, but recognizes that the balanced listing, which focuses on the publication of writers from around the globe in the UK and the Americas, has also helped it grow.
With the two publications Theistant Marvels and The Pope's Daughter, which Europe published in 2015, the company's backup list has proven itself well into 2016. The list of best-selling works last year featured The Natural Way of Things, Shelter in Place and The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery, whose The Elegance of the Hedgehog was one of Europe's first hit series.
While Reynolds thinks that the Ferrante series' popularity has contributed to making the whole European catalogue more visible on the European markets, he also thinks that the firm markets its accounts more effectively. Greystone Book has developed well since its reintroduction as an indie baler in 2013, when former editor Rob Sanders headed a syndicate that purchased the masthead from its failed mother corporation.
Sanders is the editor, and the media, known for its natural and environmental literature by Canadian and international writers, has increased its turnover. In 2016, turnover more than doubled over 2015 and was 253% higher than in 2014. Nearly every year the publishing house publishes a best-seller, starting with the picture chronicles of the disastrous flooding in Alberta in 2013 in collaboration with the Calgary Herald.
Greystone purchased the Anglophone right to the best-selling property in Germany in 2015: Giulia Enders' The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Undrated Organ, which has to date 90,000 printed and 24,000 e-books on sale. However, it was a publication in 2016 that boosted Greystone's revenues last year:
Peter Wohlleben's Hidden Life of Trees, initially in Germany, has been English translation and concurrently distributed in North America and the UK and has distributed 240,000 of the Greystone issue world-wide (150,000 in the US). It is hoped that the media will maintain impetus with the publication of another book of Wohlleben, The Inner Life of Animals, in November.
Since its founding by Will Kiester in 2013, Page Street Publishing has maintained its strong turnover upwards. In 2016, the machine's turnover was 31% higher than in 2015 and 117% higher than in 2014. The early fame of Page Street has contributed to the company's increased popularity, as Kiester is optimistic about investing in the business through additional new staff and positions.
Since its founding as Frahlingur's e-book publisher in 2010, Diversity Books has gone through quite a transformation. Divested as a separate entity a few years ago, the diversification was completed at the end of 2014 and added with Ingram Publisher Services, and the inclusion of printing and sales in 2016 led to an 84% sales growth over 2014.
Waxman was persuaded by the shortage of high-quality backup e-book permissions coupled with the revival of printed revenues and the drop in the number of digitally generated revenues that required further changes. At the end of 2015 he appointed Jaime Levine as head of Diversion and Levine began a programme to publish 50-60 printed and digitised volumes a year.
But Waxman says the shift in policy generated immediate dividend last year, with a doubling of pressure sells over 2015 that will offset a 30% drop in e-book sells. The EverAfter Romance and Radius Book Group. Waxman says EA is a printing marketing services offering best-selling writers the opportunity to access more bookshops.
The system works according to a royalty-split-scheme and demands the author to supply print-ready book data and to conduct his own advertising. "EA issued nearly 500 new as well as back-list booklets in 2016 and is planning to publish about the same number in 2017. Last year it represented about 40% of Diversion's sales, and Waxman aims to achieve a 50% sales growth by 2017.
RBG is described by Waxman as a "high-end customized print for enterprising writers who want to publicize themselves through a partnership with a top publishers. "It provides full-service editing, but not à la carte editing. In February, he appointed Mark Fretz as editor-in-chief and aims to boost revenues by more than 300% in 2017 compared to the previous year.
A not-for-profit publishing house for politics and society, Haymarket Book celebrates its fifteenth year. Commenting on Haymarket's recent achievement, Jim Plank said in a October PW report that he was "committed to publishing a book that addresses the moment". In 2016, the machine ended with a 21% rise in sales over the prior year and a 67% rise over 2014.
Haymarket got off to a good start in 2017, with net turnover of almost 700,000 dollars. Sasquatch Books, a Seattle-based business, posted a 20% rise in revenues in 2015 over 2014 and another strong year in 2016, with revenues up 55% over 2014. The Little Bigfoot children's print, which was launched in 2014, was able to grow again thanks to its expanding back list.
However, last year's main revenue generator was Sasquatch's 52 list journals from Moorea Seal, who describes herself as a resourceful businesswoman. According to Corinna Scott, the 52 List Project and 52 List for Happiness have more than 375,000 printed issues.
Dead Feminists and The Hidden Lives of Owls were other outstanding tracks in 2016. Graywolf Press has been selected as one of PW's fastest expanding indie printing machines for the second year in a row, maintaining the high sales growth of 2015 over the previous year and increasing by 49% in 2016 over 2014.
Released in October 2014, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, which contributed a substantial share to Graywolf's enormous increase in turnover in 2015, is still the best-selling edition of the non-profit organization with 200,000 units distributed. Also two newer publications have made important contributions: Szalay' s novel All That Man Is Was a Booker Prize is finalist, and Somaz Sharif's Look series was a finaleist for the National Book Award in Poetics - and the critics' applause for these works translates into brisk sell.
"We' re not really doing anything else," says Casey O'Neil, head of distribution and advertising, pointing out that Graywolf published 34 new magazines and new editions in 2016, up from 30 in 2015. "Rankine is often in the news, and our accounts are just on a higher standard than in the past years", which is largely due to academical course takeovers and indie bookstore supportf.
Nimbus Verlag of Canada has recognized the advantages of increased global sales and promotional activities in the financial year ending March 31, 2017, which includes a 31% sales growth year-on-year. Headquartered in Halifax and celebrating its fortieth year next year, the media mainly publishes adults' and children's literature on the Atlantic-Canadian province.
Managing Director Terrilee Bulger attributed much of Nimbus' expansion to a ten-fold rise in Nova Scotia's Province Council funds, which enabled the business to make investments in manufacturing, promotion and innovations and increase its workforce. For the first and foremost, the media has recruited new journalists to boost outputs, an internationally active copyright journalist, a journalist specialising in exports and a specialists in this area.
The Nimbus Group is also extending its advertising activities to the remainder of Canada by recruiting professional publishers in large towns to make its publications better known to their respective communities. While Shambhala Publications only recorded 8% revenue increase in 2016 over 2014, after seven years of continuous expansion, the firm will not be considered for next year's rapidly developing indie publishing lists, as its investment is limited to $10 million in revenue per year.
The Shambhala brand launched its life -style print, Roast Boooks - in 2012, and the entity has become a major part of its operations. Rusost had been selling by the fact that his works won James Beard accolades in each of the last two years. Shambhala's reputation as the biggest Buddhist book publishers in the United States was consolidated by the acquisition of Snow Lion Publications in 2012, and in May 2015 Shambhala Rodmell Press, which not only underpinned its Buddhist register, but also duplicated its series of almonds.
It has also expanded its offshore operations by working with several publishers and distribution companies in Asia to produce English language printed works for the Asia markets. In order to better commercialize its expanding listing (it will publish 100 ledgers this year), Shambhala will send out between 1. 5 million and two million e-mails per month directed to targeted sections on its e-mail to.