Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Introducing Berbay Publishing

Australian small press Berbay Publishing specialises in local and international children’s picture books. Last year it won the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year in the Oceania category. Founder and managing director Alexandra Yatomi-Clarke spoke to Think Australian:

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 brings sophistication and depth to children’s picture books by combining poignant and imaginative stories with illustrations that are stunning, unique and eclectic.

What makes your 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 kinds of books does your press publish?

Mainly picture books including nonfiction. In 2018 Berbay Publishing is also releasing a new junior-fiction series and its first ever YA book.

How many books do you publish each year?

Historically, Berbay has produced four to six picture books per year, although in 2018, our list will grow to 10 books.

What are some of your bestselling titles in Australia?

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.

Have you sold international rights to your books?

Yes, Berbay has successfully sold into the North American, French and German markets.

What have been your biggest rights sales successes?

Heads and Tails by John Canty. This book has been sold to the North American, French and German markets.

Have you acquired the rights to publish any international titles in Australia?

Yes, Berbay selects one or two international titles per year.

What have been your most successful international acquisitions? Why do you think they took off in Australia?

A Spanish book 71 Sheep Try Soccer by Pablo Albo and illustrated by Guridi. A quirky and humorous book showing young readers how unexpected challenges can be triumphed by imagination and cooperation. Its success is due to the fabulous sheep and imaginative story.

What will you publish next?

Our next book to be released in November 2017 is M is for Mutiny! History by Alphabet written by John Dickson and artwork by Bern Emmerichs. This extraordinary book explores how the strange truths of Australia’s colonial beginnings can excite the imagination and spark deeper learning. With Bern Emmerichs’ detailed, intricate and evocative images, they demonstrate the place storytelling holds in learning about history.


Category: Think Australian Junior Profile