Bad news from Salt. Due to the economic downturn, the business has struggled. It looked, at first, like Salt would have to cancel all its remaining scheduled publications for 2009, although there is talk that a few of those books may now be published.
Salt isn’t bankrupt. It’s still trading and all the books you see on its website (including my own collection) are still available and will continue to be available. But it’s going to have to operate on a much smaller scale in the future. It’s a real tragedy for Chris and Jen who have put so much of their time, energy and passion into the business. The other main loss here is for British poetry – for poets and readers. With a bit of luck, Salt might have fully established itself as a major force in UK poetry publishing, financially stable, much like Bloodaxe did a couple of decades ago, and it’s a force that is much needed. So much that’s been exciting in poetry in the last few years has been brought to view though Salt. What it has achieved has been considerable, but it’s now going to have to cut back.
Whatever happens, it shows how precarious life is for small publishers at the moment, particularly those who are attempting to produce quality literature. Even if, like Salt, you win loads of prizes and are short-listed for many top awards, even if you are recognised as one of the best publishers of poetry and short stories out there, even if you have the best website and a furious work ethic, you’re still competing with a culture that feeds us with celebrity cookbooks and kiss-and-tell biographies on its shop windows, and ‘3 for 2’ special-offer novels, which account for a massive percentage of UK book sales, are its most visible promotion.
Anyway, if you’re wondering what to read next, you could do far worse than go to the Salt website and choose a couple of titles. There’s almost no chance you’ll be disappointed.
Here's a message from Chris Hamilton-Emery, Salt's director:
"Here's how you can help us to save Salt.
JUST ONE BOOK
1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.
Salt UK and International Store
Salt USA Store
2. Share this note on your Facebook and MySpace profile [and on your blogs]. Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it's just one book, that's all it takes to save us. Please do it now.
With my best wishes to everyone