Our expert sales team, Quantum, has reported it is the most difficult and ‘fiendishly competitive’ time to get sales for small presses in their 20 years of business; indeed, we saw close to zero sales for the past three months through bookshop orders.
At the same time, the tragedy of war in Ukraine, combined with the post-Brexit and pandemic pressures, has created a ‘cost of living emergency’ where inflation is soaring in the UK; with shipping, and printing, costs rising dramatically.
NatWest Business recently stated in an email to customers: Geo-political tensions, inflation, the fuel crisis and container shipping issues mean some businesses could be facing supply shortages. ... the economic backdrop is both challenging and inconsistent, it can be difficult [...] to prepare for the unexpected.
And, unfortunately for our own company, we saw our director hospitalised over Christmas and then off sick with a blood clot on his heart and heart failure, the past three months. He has come out of his surgical procedure feeling improved and there is renewed hope.
Yes, things are looking up for the summer and especially autumn/Christmas quarters in the second half of 2022, for our company, especially as our new US distributor and sales team, NBN are generating some exciting sales at the moment, especially for Furnace Creek. Pre-orders and review for Tails are also hugely positive.
We’d ask our creditors, and authors, to be especially flexible and patient just for a little bit longer now, as we seek a new way forward, including restructuring our business model, and seeking investment, and partnerships, to keep the company viable and thriving in an exceptionally challenging business climate for small businesses in the UK.
BSPG is not primarily profit-driven – it has always re-invested profits back into the business to publish more books, and give more prizes to writers. It is essentially a cultural platform, a way to disseminate, in physical and digital formats, creative and information content, what was once called ‘books’.
We love books, and will always publish physical books, but are moving more into NFTs and other new formats, as well, that also need offsetting. Sustainability issues, and an interest younger people have to borrow rather than own material objects, means the days of people acquiring large physical libraries may be ending.
BSPG has been in business, in one way or another, for 37 years; our imprint Eyewear has reached its tenth birthday. We plan to stick around. But we will require patience, resilience, empathy and a big vision over the next few months.
Our big aim now is to make it to 2025, to celebrate 40 years! With smart, long-term thinking, and a cup of kindness, too, we can make it.