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Around 60% of British small publishers fear they could be out of business by the autumn due to Coronavirus.

A survey covering 72 publishers by Booksellers shows that 57% reported they had no cashflow to support their business, and 85% had seen sales drop by more than half.

Philip Jones, Bookseller’s editor, said the survey shows that the outbreak threatens many small presses, including some of the UK’s best-known independents.

“These are not big publishers, or even the bigger indies, but the very smallest, many of them Arts Council-funded, publishing into areas often overlooked by other publishers, with a particular emphasis on debut writers, and those from BAME or working-class backgrounds,” he explained.

“There’s a whole tranche of writers that either will not write, or will be unable to see their work published, if these fears come true, and it is incumbent on the publishing sector, arts funders and governments to look at how the situation can be resolved,” added Jones.

Valerie Brandes, Jacaranda Books founder, said: “The pandemic has not only decimated our plans for new authors, but has also impacted our publishing programme in every aspect overall, from future acquisitions to sales and distribution. We have had to adapt, as small presses have to, turning to our website to sell directly, making changes to our publishing schedule and connecting more with our community. This is all compounded by the industry-wide uncertainty; we have no idea how far we will fall or for how long.”

Jacaranda has teamed up with Knights Of, another publisher specialised in diverse authors, to launch a crowdfunding campaign administered by independent writing charity Spread the Word, to raise £100,000, 80% of which will be split between the two presses, with 20% to go to other diversity-focused independents.


Source: The Guardian