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Independent presses 'do not rely on the government'

4th November 2010

Small publishers do not need handouts from the government to survive, the head of Pluto Press has asserted.

In an interview with the Bookseller last week, New Press founder Andrew Schriffin suggested that the world's healthiest publishing industries tend to have state aid for independent presses and book shops, which helps them to flourish.

He cited the examples of France and Norway, claiming that government subsidies have allowed their smaller book stores and presses to fare better than their counterparts in the UK.

However, a letter sent to the publication in response by Pluto Press chairman Roger van Zwanenberg argued that independent publishers in Britain can prosper without help from the government.

The expert claimed that smaller presses are flexible enough to adapt to breaking trends among their readers and the industry, commenting: 'We don't ask for government subsidies, as that won't happen. We learn the tricks and movements of capital and technology, so we can move with the best of them.'

Mr Van Zwanenberg, whose firm's recent releases include Out of the Frame by Ilan Pappe and Matthew Alford's Reel Power, also recommended that independent presses specialise in niche markets rather than attempting to compete with 'juggernaut' publishers for the general audience.
 

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