VPR has an article about non-profit publishing houses in Vermont, shortly after Seven Days covered the same topic.
Wind Ridge Books, based in Shelburne, is looking to change that. They are a small, non-profit publishing house that publishes works of Vermont authors, such as the recent novel Shape of the Sky by Shelagh Shapiro. Lin Stone, managing editor at Wind Ridge Books, wants to return to the old, romantic world of publishing. “I think if you look at publishing the way that it has grown in recent years, with the giant online people from Amazon and that model … much of the work is un-edited, it’s pasted and put together in not a professional, lovely or engaging manner. So, it’s become a cheap commodities market in many ways. And that’s not who Vermonters are. That’s not our cup of tea, if you think about the localvore movements or the artisan food movements,” Stone says.
You can listen to the full article here.
Meanwhile, Seven Days spoke with three local publishers: Wind Ridge Books, Green Writers Press and Fomite Press.
But for every scam artist, a new small publisher is struggling to survive the old-fashioned way — by making money flow to writers, not away from them. Unlike vanity or subsidy outfits, these publishers are selective and generally have a defined market niche. They seldom give writers advances, but they do offer royalty percentages unheard of in the Big Five.
The trick is selling enough copies to make those royalties count. While some literary genres sell like hotcakes online, shelf space in stores is still key to success in others. Any bookseller can order any book that has a distributor, but most will not stock a book unless the publisher permits the return of unsold copies.
It’ll be interesting, over the next couple of years, to see how well these publishers operate here in Vermont with their fairly unique business models. Publishing is a difficult business to work in: the margins are pretty thin. But, it seems that there’s a real demand and growth of works from Vermont authors, which is always a good thing.