Friday, May 1, 2009

Drink in a tasty cup of word coffee

Greetings fellow Fringe fans; I return from my brief but fun-filled travels (cut short by icky hot weather) and have thrown myself into the choppy waters of the publishing world once more – or, to be a tad more accurate, I am trying to dive back into them in what, admittedly, has become my rather badly timed job hunting adventure.

My frenzied rummaging around the interweb has thrown up all sorts of little treasures in regards to independent publishers and relevant news pieces in general, amongst which I discovered a slick little outfit dubbed Bookkake, a self proclaimed ‘new’ type of publisher of ‘transgressive literature’ which appears to have an erotic bent. They use a handy-looking outfit called Lightning Source to print on-demand, when (and only when) someone orders a title. Sounds like good idea in terms of minimising waste/saving some trees and not being burdened with a costly warehouse of books to push onto already chock-full market.

I later stumbled upon another piece of oldish news – a magical photocopier that squeezes out whole books in minutes. The Espresso Book Machine has been winging their way around the US/Canada/Australia for a while now, but only made their UK debut at the London Book Fair last week, so this is shiny and new to me.

So what does all this speedy book making mean? For one, obscure and out-of-print titles can find their way back into the hands of those who want them, plus it also means smaller presses can hopefully continue doing what they do best; publishing riskier titles which range from the sublime to the shocking, keeping that door to a viable future propped open for niche markets.

This potential freedom may also open up the way for almost endless choice, which bodes less well for new writers yearning for that big break, as one would imagine it’s trickier to get your voice heard in over a increasingly noisy rabble, no matter how fresh or dazzling that voice might be. But then if your heart is still pure and you’re not in it for the money or the glory anyway, there’s nothing new to fear.

Next week: the dirty world of self-publishing

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