Small and independent publishers (and booksellers) are staples of the book community. And they often go unrecognized. Oftentimes, readers don’t pay attention to the details of the books they love. Some readers might take notice of their favorite authors, genres, and tropes. Dedicated readers might pay attention to book sellers, preferring independent bookstores to Amazon for example. Most readers, myself included, often disregard who publishes their favorite books. For larger publishing companies, this lack of recognition doesn’t have significant impact. But for the authors, editors, and publishers associated with small publishing houses, resources are limited and recognition from readers can make or break a business.
Now more than ever, it’s important to be supporting small publishers. There is a significant lack of diversity in the publishing industry. Many small publishers focus on amplifying the voices and stories of marginalized groups. COVID-19 hit small and independent publishers hard. They rely on support from readers to sustain their publishing efforts. In order to maintain and expand platforms that publish multicultural stories, readers need to make more concerted efforts to support small presses.
Here are some of the best ways to support small publishers:
All too often, readers select books solely from large and well-established publishers. These books have larger marketing and promotional budgets, and they are more well-known. Books published by small presses receive less press and achieve less notoriety. Reading these books requires readers to take risks and pick up books that most likely have fewer reviews. At first, it might feel like a blind date, and it requires a bit more faith. However, there’s a good chance you’ll find something you love. When you do, check out their backlists for similar content!
Don’t forget to review and share what you read to help the books you enjoy become more well-known.
2.) BUY DIRECT
When you do decide to purchase books published by small presses, buy directly from their website if you’re able. When you buy through third party vendors, like Amazon, they get a percentage of the purchase. Buying directly from the publisher ensures that your money actually goes to the authors, editors, cover artists, and other people directly involved in the creation of the book you enjoyed.
Many small publishers rely directly on reader support to sustain and expand their publishing efforts. Although their primary source of income may come from producing and selling books and other materials, donations from readers are essential, especially for non-profit presses. These publishers rely on sponsors, donations, and community support. If you find publishers whose works or mission contribute value to your life, donate! Whether you can afford to give $5, $50, or $500, your donations are invaluable to sustaining the work small publishers do.
4.) SHARE & INTERACT ONLINE
In the digital age, nearly every small press has an online presence. Like other businesses, small publishers use social media and the internet to connect with readers and establish communities with their supporters. If you want a small publisher to know their work has impacted you, the best way to convey that message (and to support their business efforts) is to follow them online. Don’t just leave it at that, though. After you follow, share their content, leave comments, and establish a relationship. Not only does this help small publishers feel appreciated, you might find that connecting with the people responsible for the stories you love enriches your own reading experience.