Dan Asbridge

Meditations on Publication Studios
I thought that the fact that they were a for-profit business was fascinating. I had not heard of them until we visited the studio. They did not have the same ruthless attitude of other publishing companies. For instance, they admitted that they referred writers to other publishing companies if they felt they did not have the resources to do the job right. This astonished me. It seemed so anti-capitalist, anti-for-profit. Granted, many publishers turn down books, but for different reasons. For instance, the standard publisher will reject a book because it will not sell. In addition to this, large book publishing companies live in constant competition with each other. I have not encountered any story in which a writer received recommendations about which publisher would be most effective. In this regard, the company seems more like a nonprofit business. So it struck me as a paradox. The Publication Studio is a for-profit company that does not compete with other companies. The business struck me as completely different from a publisher like Hawthorne Books. I worked as an intern at Hawthorne Books before beginning my DTC career. This company seems almost old-fashioned or traditional in its practices when compared to the Publication Studio. Hawthorne Books virtually jumped at any client they could garner. Hawthorne Books also publishes titles that were rejected by other companies. But it does this on a much larger scale (instead of maxing at 300, they sell upwards of a thousand books). But I would say that Hawthorne Books is less innovative and less willing to sell books that are unconventional. As our tour guide informed us, the people at the Publication Studio are more willing to take risks with books. The print on-demand side of the business frees the business up to work on books that are less conventional. This seems to me to be an original way of doing business and more inline with the 21st century, wherein everyone has the opportunity to express herself.
The social element of the Publication Studio’s practices struck me as intriguing. I have heard of a writer in residence before, but I have never heard of a publishing company hunkering down at a bar. For such a small company, the Publication Studio seemed particularly adept at forging partnerships. Once again, I will compare it to Hawthorne Books. Hawthorne Books’ efforts consist mostly of drudgework. That is to say, the P.R. person spends a large portion of her day emailing potential bloggers and websites to find out whether these other agents will review a book. This is a slow process and only sometimes rewarding. The Publication Studio gains instant connections with people by presenting itself in a highly visible location. It also seems to me, that in a city of artists and writers, this would be an ideal place to network and tap into the energies of young talent. Such practices provide new avenues of growth and allow for new connections that are profitable and mutually beneficial in the 21st century.

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