Atlantic Center for the Arts

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It looks like independent books sales are poppin’ these days. UK-based bookseller Inpress, which specializes in the sales of independently-published works, told The Guardian that sales have gone up 79% in the last year. Inpress managing director Sophie O’Neill cites the recruitment of diverse writers to reach markets “beyond white middle classes” as part of the success.

“It’s down to a mix of really good books such as Audre Lorde’s Your Silence Will Not Protect You from the feminist Silver Press,” O’Neill told The Guardian, “and Dead Ink’s crowdfunded book Know Your Place—which is like The Good Immigrant except about class—and great attention to detail.”

Lorde’s writing especially has seen a resurgence in popularity. Your Silence Will Not Protect You—a collection of Lorde’s poetry, speeches, and essays in a first-ever volume of its kind by a British publisher—was published in October. In September, Ixia Press published a reissue of Lorde’s A Burst of Light, which was originally released in 1988. The resurgence makes sense in today’s political climate where many seek inspiration and solace in turbulent times.

For independents, it’s all about what readers want. Companies like Peepal Tree Press, which specializes in Caribbean writing, are seeing sales success by honing in on audience demand. “We are offering something that readers want rather than just another novel with a dead girl on a train,” Peepal operations manager Hannah Bannister told The Guardian. And during a Northern Fiction Alliance sellout event, folks gravitated toward fresh ideas.

“There were over 100 young people there who wanted to find out about what’s new and interesting,” Bannister continued. “People are tired of being sold books [by large publishers] based on what they bought earlier.” Jacob Ross’ The Bone Readers, winner of the inaugural Jhalak prize, particularly brought Peepal significant sales success this year.

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