“It’s the micro-brew of the literary world- individually crafted, often a labor of love and always full of flavor,” said Douglas Johnson, co-owner of a small publishing company (Live Model Books) in rural southern New Hampshire, as he talked about the books being produced by fellow small publishers. The number of these micro-pubs is expanding and more people than ever are getting their views, stories, and experiences into print. Like your local brew pub, the micro-pubs provide something the major players cannot- individually crafted products which appeal to specialty tastes.
Despite predictions that digital media would spell the end the printed word, the reality is that advances in high tech are actually fueling a growth in small press publishing. The ubiquity of the internet and email has made it possible to find printers anywhere in the world. And, sophisticated desktop publishing software allows an individual with a computer to home-brew nearly press ready files to be sent anywhere for printing.
Other advancements such as the “Digital Press” (essentially a very large copier) have made it economical to print as few as one book at a time. For books composed entirely of text, like a novel, these can be almost indistinguishable from a traditionally printed book. This low cost of entry is effectively opening the world of publishing to anyone with something important to say, not just those with deep pockets.
For books with photos or graphics, international commerce and ease of communication make it possible to print books with a relatively small investment. “It’s not exactly easy, but it can be done,” Mr. Johnson said. “Our newest book, “Art Models” is almost entirely color photographs which are expensive to print in the United States. Using the Internet, we were able to find a printer in Asia and they produced and delivered books to our small office in New Hampshire for about 70% of U.S. costs.”
Predictions of the demise of books simply did not consider the appeal of a tangible book. Maureen Johnson author of “Art Models” said, “There’s nothing quite like holding a hardcover book in your hand, your name printed on the spine. It’s magical.” For many authors it’s the culmination of years of late nights and innumerable weekends spent hunched over their manuscripts. “After so much work, finally seeing a real physical book is simply wonderful,” she said. Readers seem to agree, as sales of e-books continue to languish while printed book sales remain strong.
Micro-pubs are providing bookstores with an ever expanding variety of interesting new titles. Specialty books, like specialty brews, may not have broad appeal or giant commercial success, but for people with a taste for something new, it’s a refreshing change.
Photos of a micro-pub book are available at www.livemodelbooks.com/
Copyright Douglas Johnson