Independent publishers have been hard-pressed these past few months. Closed bookstores, little media attention, a distracted public, Amazon’s new hostility to book orders — it’s a perfect storm. But they’re adapting and surviving. As we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, we contacted indie presses to find out what state they’re in and their plans moving forward. This is Part 3 in our series. Read about how other small presses are doing here.
Now or Never Publishing curates fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and memoir from home-grown Canadian talent. Focused on edgy works and stories, the Vancouver-based press publishes grungy talent true to their moniker: “We may publish prose, but we can still kick your ass.” We spoke to Chris Needham, publisher for Now or Never about how the press is adapting in this tumultuous time.
BP: How are you adapting financially?
CN: As publishing is based primarily around two seasons, spring and fall, the spring ’20 season looks like it’s essentially been lost. The shock-waves of mass returns, de-prioritized book shipments from vendors, closed stores, cancelled readings and launches, and more, have all taken their toll, and will reverberate well into 2021. The pandemic has taken an industry already stretched and ripped it apart. That being said, we are reasonably well positioned.
Have you found new ways to respond to the challenges?
Cutting back print runs and ARC printing for starters, and trimming seasonal lists in the short and medium-term.
Have you found any new opportunities amidst all this?
Some online and virtual opportunities have presented themselves, but being a father of a 5-year-old home from school has certainly presented its challenges.
Have you received any support from the government or arts groups or councils?
The BC provincial government has really stepped up, and quickly, really impressing me with their response. Federally, we have heard support is coming, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Understandable considering the larger scope of their roll-out.
Do you find that support sufficient?
It remains to be seen, but I am hopeful.
Here are some of our favourite reads from Now or Never Publishing: