As more and more authors discover that they can cut out the middle man through many of the self-publishing services cropping up, a whole new breed of small-scale publisher is emerging, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
Open Books is reaching out to authors who are not interested in clawing their way to the top of the slush pile. While still following the same model as larger traditional publishing houses, such as employing selective submission guidelines and not charging their authors to e-publish, Open Books is able to be less restrictive of what it publishes, following reader-guided ratings rather than market trends.
“We select the best submissions based on 95% editorial content. In general, we do not consider ourselves the judge and jury as to what is selected. We judge the work as a whole and for its literary merit,” notes Open Book technical editor Kelly Huddleston.
By selling the books they believe their readers will enjoy rather than what the publishing market is dictating, Open Books has been very successfully selling e-books to all e-reader formats and through its own site. Despite being based in Europe, the nature of digital publishing means that they could be based anywhere and still reach large audiences.
“Our e-book publishing house is a labor of love, not a labor for money,” Huddleston continues. “As we grow, we hope to become known as a leading online publisher of books of high literary quality.”
It is this belief that has kept them operating and expanding since 2007. Rather than pinpointing a specific company with a similar business model, Huddleston targets the entire concept of traditional publishing as Open Books’ major competitor.