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That Spine-tinkering feeling B

ibliophiles are in a kind of paradise at the moment, a literary and “colophonic”

heaven in which the spine—to those who care about such things—looms large. In the past five years or so there has been a spate of new imprints launched, with interesting, enigmatic names and distinct voices—or so their editorial leaders hope. There are more to come too, notably a new venture from Headline, as larger publishers mimic what indies have been doing for some time: that is, have smaller teams working on dedicated and often specialised lists. Pan Macmillan’s Bluebird is a good

place to start. The lifestyle imprint, founded in May last year and led by Carole Tonkinson, has published the most successful title of the new imprints: Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15, the second bestselling book in the UK this year by value (it earned £7.1m, bettered only—and inevitably—by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Tonkinson, recently returned from accompanying her author on a promotional jaunt to Australia, believes


A raft of ‘boutique’ imprints have cropped up at large publishers, stealing a march on indies with small teams and highly curated catalogues. Roger Tagholm looks at what is behind the trend, and Tom Tivnan meets two staffers at lists of this ilk

Publishers have obsessed about market share and becoming bigger and bigger to stand up to Amazon, and they haven’t thought about what they do, how they present themselves . . .

imprints “make it simpler for authors, agents and retailers to navigate their way through what can be the dizzying maze of publishing, especially as companies have become ever larger and more complex with merger upon merger”. This idea of small, boutique imprints launched as a response to the size, and

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