Sandstone press was twice voted Scottish publisher of the year - and one of its books won the International Booker Prize in 2019 - one of the world's leading literary awards. However, its impressive team had been warning about the shattering costs small indie presses are facing in 2023 - now Sandstone has been liquidated, and all their stock and rights sold on to another press.
We at BSPG are deeply saddened to learn of this news. Quality, commitment, energy, even artistic and critical success, cannot always prevail against economic downturns and market forces, in small press publishing, where margins are so very tight, and printing costs cannot be lowered as with large press printing, since the runs are much smaller. No press deserves that which has befallen Sandstone, after over 20 years of serious trading.
This news should make the Big 5, and bigger authors, as well as lovers of books, think more about the role and needs of small indie presses in the larger publishing ecosystem - often very "dog eat dog"; SIPs need patrons, they need grants, they need investors, to compete with these rising costs.
If a society loses its small independent publishing options, many vital voices will not always find their way into print.