Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Everyone else is doing it so why don't we?"

Well now we are. And with this first blog post we thought we would answer some Frequently Asked Questions
1.Why are you in publishing?
Contrary to what some people think, we do not spend our time flitting from one cocktail party to another discussing the merits of the latest literary masterpieces, while contemplating in which part of the world we are going to spend the proceeds. Books which sell well have to cover ones which don't and we are forever battling apathy and ignorance on the part of booktrade outlets. The short answer is that we love books.
2. What does it take to get into publishing?
You need to love books to the point that for you the desire to create them is a kind of noble calling. An excellent command of English is a must and a knowledge of other world languages comes in handy at times too. And of course if you want to make money then some standard business nous is essential too.
3. Do authors come to you or do you commission authors to write books?
Both. On average it has probably been about half and half over the last 20 + years, but the proportion of commissioned works is reducing.
4. What do you see for the future of traditional printed books?
This is the big question which we often think about. Worldwide there is no question that people prefer and will continue to prefer tactile literary products to computer files, but the amount of distraction for people's leisure time that today's digital-visual age represents, particularly to anyone under 45, means that the market for NZ books is shrinking, as it has for the last 30 years - but nowadays at an even faster rate. Opportunities for publishing commercially viable well-researched thorough scholarship in book form are getting ever fewer. Unlike some of our competitors we have not addressed these lack of opportunities by going down-market with cheap picture books for the lowest common denominator, and don't intend to.

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