Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK indies hail £160m emergency funding package

In the UK, independent publishers have spoken of their ‘huge relief’ after receiving funding from Arts Council England’s £160m (A$297m) emergency coronavirus package, reports the Bookseller.

Recipients of the funding, which was allocated in grants of up to £35,000 (A$65k), include Bluemoose Books, the Brixton Review of Books, Dead Ink Books, Orenda Books, Knights Of and Galley Beggar Press.

Dead Ink publisher Nathan Connolly said, ‘Without this funding it isn’t clear how we would have made it through this period. To be absolutely clear: Arts Council England just saved indie publishing.’

For some presses, the funds have alleviated the uncertainty surrounding the sale of wholesaler Bertrams, which is reported to owe money to numerous publishers.

‘Betrams going under meant a lot of the money we thought we’d made in December disappeared,’ said Galley Beggar co-director Sam Jordison. ‘The grant has really protected us from that. We have a book coming out in August, and some really ambitious plans for this year that we thought we’d have to put on hold. We’re very grateful, and very relieved as well, as this means we can start planning for the future in earnest.’

However, the Bookseller found that many publishers agree ‘the financial insecurity that accompanies independent publishing needs to be addressed post-pandemic’.

‘One of the biggest questions that has arisen is how we fund smaller presses going forward, because market economics don’t work for the smaller publishers,’ said Bluemoose Books co-founder Kevin Duffy. ‘We don’t get regular funding, and this is a chance to look at the whole scope of how the arts are funded, because it can’t go on like this.’

Earlier this month, a Bookseller survey found that more than half of UK and Ireland’s small presses felt they may be out of business by the autumn, with 85% experiencing a drop in sales by 50%.


Category: International news