Who are the interesting independent ebook publishers?
July 22, 2011 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend your favourite independent ebook publishers!

I'm looking to find independent trade publishing houses that distribute their products as ebooks (with print as a secondary concern, if they do it at all).

Full disclosure: I'm currently writing my master's thesis (for a publishing degree in London, England) about ebook pricing, with a focus on independents and how they survive in a landscape dominated by Amazon. So in the short-term, I'd like to find ebook publishers in the hopes that some of them will answer questions I have about their pricing strategies. In the long-term, I want to buy more ebooks!

There are a lot of directories online [here, here, here, and here, for example] but they're cluttered with vanities, and I'm specifically after small companies that have a professional outlook, a strong editorial hand, and a dedication to ebooks, with or without the print element. Genre is of no concern.

From the research I've done so far, the following houses meet my criteria:

- The Atavist
- OR Books
- 40K Books
- Baen Books
- Online Originals

I'd prefer to stick with companies rather than self-publishing individuals, but if you know someone in the latter category that I need to consider, feel free to share. Also, innovative models like Gluejar are very welcome.

And if you want to talk to me about your experiences with or theories about ebook pricing, please don't hesitate to MeMail me.

Thank you, o hivemind!
posted by Chichibio to Technology (9 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I liked ereader.com (maybe distributor, not a publisher) because of its drm design, but it is no longer really independent. It was bought out by Fitionwise, then Fictionwise was bought by Barnes & Noble.
posted by jb at 6:17 AM on July 22, 2011

I gather that the folks over at Ravenous Romance are doing a *booming* business, as is the romance genre in general. And Circlet Press(potentially nsfw) (self-link caveat: i'm a stockholder) is an erotica publisher doing pretty well with ebooks as well. The head of Circlet, Cecilia Tan, recently had a good blog post about "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ebook Piracy" that might be of interest as well.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:24 AM on July 22, 2011

Not sure if this is what you're looking for (just saw a link on Twitter) - Walrus have just released ePub3.
posted by humph at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2011

O'Reilly Books, the tech book publisher, might fit your criteria. They are quite successful.
posted by michaelh at 7:36 AM on July 22, 2011

Open Road is one of the first (medium-sized) ebook only publishers in the U.S.
posted by mattbucher at 8:59 AM on July 22, 2011

Candlemark & Gleam is adding a bit of print, but they are primarily an e-publisher. I can hook you up with the publisher if you'd like to speak to her.
posted by headspace at 6:32 AM on August 10, 2011

A writer named Daniel Keys Moran has launched a site this year named fs& to sell his own books as well as those of other authors. His titles went out of print a while ago, and he appears to be concerned only with electronic versions. (I could be wrong though -- ask him yourself: I had a question and he replied the same day I write to him.)

I have a title purchased from there and, based on what a pleasure it was to deal with him, I wish him well.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:51 AM on August 10, 2011

Seconding rmd1023 on romance publishers, who are better-represented in ebook sales than pretty much anybody, IIRC. There are at least a couple of reasons for that: romance readers flat-out read more than other readers, and there are significant market niches that weren't being filled by print publishers. There's also the cover art stigma issue, which is solved neatly by ebook readers.

Amber Quill has the most interesting pricing I've noticed, with several price points for different lengths of story, along with some kind of sitewide promotional discount every month. The short list of publishers at the end of this blog post about DRM-free publishers may be useful to you. Samhain is probably the best-known of them; I know they offer a lot of free ebooks as promotions (though frequently only via Amazon).
posted by asperity at 4:58 PM on August 10, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much to everyone that answered my question. I got some great leads and I just can't bear to mark anyone as a best answer - it was all helpful.

Now I just have to finish the thesis!
posted by Chichibio at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2011

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