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Small publisher spotlight: Berbay Publishing

Melbourne-based children’s publisher Berbay was established in 2009 by Alexandra Yatomi-Clarke. She spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘small publisher spotlight’ series:

Describe your company in under 50 words.

Berbay is a remarkable imprint, small and fearless. Producing children’s picture books from local and international talent, Berbay fills an important niche in storytelling: it shuns condescension by bringing sophistication and depth to children’s picture books by combining poignant and imaginative stories with illustrations that are stunning, unique and eclectic.

Why start a publishing company?

Buying books for my children, and as presents for other children, I found the breadth and depth of children’s books available in Australia surprisingly limited. I soon found out my views were shared by many other parents seeking high-quality, eclectic books outside the mainstream offering.

What book did you launch with?

The first two titles (produced simultaneously) were The Prince of Peas and 3 Little Culottes.

How many people do you employ?

We have no permanent full-time employees other than myself, however, I use a regular team of 20 extraordinary freelance staff including designers, typesetters, proof-readers and editors.

What makes your small press unique?

Berbay Publishing is daring, bold and risk-taking, sourcing and producing highly original content. In an increasingly risk-averse publishing environment it stands out as a glittering jewel.

What has been your biggest success?

The Australian first settlement series What’s Your Story?, The Unlikely Story of Bennelong and Phillip, and William Bligh: A Stormy Story of Tempestuous Times.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Operating a functional business within the constraints of limited working capital. This is made more challenging by the changing landscape of book retailing internationally.

Which book by another small press do you wish you’d published?

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc (Book Island).

What will you publish next?

The next book to be published is Heads and Tails by Melbourne illustrator John Canty.



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