Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saving Salt

Just as Wena Poon celebrates the publication of her two collections of short stories in the UK with Salt Publishing, comes the announcement that the indie enterprise is in trouble. As director Chris Hamilton-Emery explains :
As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we've £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt's operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April's much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It's proving to be a very big hole and we're having to take some drastic measures to save our business.
But there is a way that readers can help :
Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.
Salt, which publishes over 80 books a year (including poetry, short stories, literary criticism, text books and essays by authors from around the world) and as The Guardian points out :
Since its establishment in 1999, Salt has pushed breakthrough talent: it publishes the largest number of debuts of any British press.
To drive home their point about the need for public support in these difficult times, they have made this video (spoofing a World Wide Fund for Nature video) to push their message home :


Greenbottle said...

it's a sad way to keep afloat if you have to resort to begging.

at a time when you can buy a martin amis last hardcover novel for rm5 less than a year after it first came out who cares for a latest collection from relative unknowns?

Anonymous said...

Greenbottle -- you may not have noticed, but *everyone* is begging, even the major publishers. Editors have been laid off left right and centre; some of the biggest houses have stopped acquiring new fiction (that's like a butcher announcing that he's going to stop slaughtering animals). These are uniformly dire times in the publishing industry. It's not "a sad way to keep afloat" -- it's the only way right now, and even this is not working for many major publishing houses.

And guess what: Martin Amis was a relative unknown once. You may never get to read the next Martin Amis (or the next Nabokov, or the next Marquez) if we fail to save the publishing industry.

-- Preeta

Greenbottle said...

somehow i'm not worried about books stores folding up. book lovers and writers are a funny lot. there will always be writers and need to fear.

one of the reasons why many people in the western world have great personal libraries are because there are so many second hand book stores and book bargains everywhere. i've seen people buying remaindered books in the strand NYC by trolley loads.

all these don't seem to hurt big publishers and established bookstores. and there are more and more writers writing all sort of stories about their grand mothers and such and get published everyday
so i don't think we should be worried.

it's all darwinian survival of the fittest...good for everone all round...