Friday, November 02, 2012

Wellington publisher undaunted by industry challenges

With three new books being released on 15 November, Wellington’s Lawrence & Gibson thumb their noses at talks of the demise of the book.
With the rise of e-books, self-publishing and the Random House/Penguin merger, some have been suggesting the publishing industry is in for a rocky time.
Lawrence & Gibson, however, are thriving with a leash of new books for November and an optimism unseen since 2008.

William Dewey, author of the forthcoming The Homeland of Pure Joy is in a mood to match his book’s title.
“International publishing has become so dire. Coming back into the fold with Lawrence & Gibson feels like a homecoming. The mood is one of joyous optimism, and it’s infectious.”
The collective of authors, editor, and other ‘textual mercenaries’ put their success down to the group’s community of authors who regularly met at Saturday night/Sunday morning soirees at the now defunct Te Aro-based bar/speakeasy Cool Town.

The collective’s most prolific member, Richard Meros, sees the industry as ten or even fifteen years behind what has happened to music. “For publishers the next step is creating our version of vinyl. That means high quality with a fetish element to the purchasing. Why do people want books as a physical product? So they can sit on their shelves, spines facing outwards, and look sexy.”
“Though the three new titles are all paperback, ultimately we’ll expect to be making hard-covers with jackets as dapper as anything Wilde could devise.”

Lawrence & Gibson’s trick is keeping overheads down and getting involved in the production of their books with local anarchist collective Rebel Press. This allows them to make books on demand and avoid the bane of any independent publisher: ten year warehousing cycles.
Low overheads allow them to spend money on the books themselves. They use exquisite New Zealand made, recycled papers where others opt for regular photocopy paper. With all their books retailing between $15 and $28, they are a bargain for locally produced content.

From 6pm on November 15 Lawrence & Gibson release three new books at Unity Books Wellington. The new books are The Homeland of Pure Joy by William Dewey, Haiku News Anthology edited by Dick Whyte and Laurence Stacey and Richard Meros’ Easy Whistle Solo.

See for more details on the three new titles.

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