Publishing has had a number of economic pressures in the last year; some merely inconvenient, others serious. Vertebrate has not been sheltered from these.
The serious issues have centred around the cost-of-living crisis and a doubling in printing costs. In an industry with very small margins, this alone will force all publishers to make changes, and some publishers simply won’t survive. Other issues include the fallout from Covid as publishers need to dismantle systems they put in place for Covid and operate in a more traditional market once again. Brexit continues to frustrate the export of books to EU customers, the import of goods and selling rights.
Smaller presses must also deal with Waterstones effectively not ordering for three months over the summer and autumn periods. Then we have had a host of smaller niggles like the postal strikes which have been very challenging for what is effectively a mail order business.
To manage this, and, if I’m frank, keep Vertebrate viable, we have had to make some tough decisions and reduce our output over the next two years. Unfortunately, we need fewer people to do this. We will also have to put prices up for new books, but we will reduce those for the older books where we can.
Rest assured, we have an experienced publishing team still in place: John, Jane and Helen in production; Lorna heading up marketing; Sophie running the office; Kirsty remains the first call for submissions; and it’s Jo if you want to send us some money. While we will have fewer books next year, we will be able to weather this storm.
Thank you to our authors, contributors, everyone in the trade and especially our readers for the continued support.