Half the beauty of sourcing books from independent publishers lies in meeting the people behind these exciting ventures. Each independent publisher presents unique viewpoints and a different approach to publishing, through which to share their stories, interests or values. Here is a handful of brief descriptions for each publisher featured in the online shop, available at The Margate Bookshop pop-ups and in what will soon be the permanent shop space.
Café Royal Books is a small independent publisher of photobooks run by photographer Craig Atkinson and founded in 2005. The books are printed in limited editions and often document aspects of social, historical and cultural change, generally but not exclusively in Britain. The photographs published are often taken from archives but also include new work. Photographer Martin Parr has described Café Royal Books as "a great archive of much forgotten documentary photography”.
The Counter-Print website is dedicated to the promotion and sale of Art and Design related material. Often out of print or hard to find, they aim to celebrate both forgotten gems as well as those heralded designers that we all admire. As well as publishing their own books, Counter-Print sell new books on design from a variety of publishers they admire, as well as children's books.
The Do Book Company is an independent publishing house based in London, producing a series of inspirational guidebooks. Their books are written by speakers from the Do Lectures whose ideas have inspired others to go and Do, with the aim to recreate that same positive change in book form – whether that’s the mastery of a new skill or craft, a simple mindshift, or a shot of inspiration to help you get started.
Founded in 1929 in London, Faber & Faber is one of the world's great publishing houses. Made famous by great writers such as Eliot, Auden, Beckett and Plath, Faber & Faber boasts a rich heritage, featuring books by no fewer than twelve Nobel Laureates and six Booker Prize-winners. Faber & Faber was born under the aegis of Geoffrey Faber, who had worked for Oxford University Press before serving in the First World War. Later, T. S. Eliot left his job at Lloyds Bank to join Faber as a literary adviser and would remain a Director of the company for over forty years. From the first, Faber made it clear that he wished the company to publish Eliot’s own work. The new branches of publishing that developed under Faber’s chairmanship reflected not just his own enthusiasms (notably for poetry) but the special, sometimes idiosyncratic interests of his fellow directors. Over the coming years, this freedom given to the individual director to pursue his own passions produced an unusually wide-ranging list of publications. In 2008, Faber & Faber launched The Faber Academy, a creative writing business offering courses for aspiring writers.
Hato Press is an independent printing and publishing house based in London. Established in 2009, they work with talented illustrators and artists to create imaginative, playful and visually-captivating books and zines. Hato’s catalogue specialises in utility books, children’s books and artist’s books, and makes use not only of risograph printing but also letterpress, screen printing and offset lithography.
Herb Lester was founded in 2010 by Ben and Jane. Most guides try to tell you everything there is to know about a city, Herb Lester just tell you how to enjoy it. Their aim is to show the reader what makes a place distinctive, to shed light on obscure locations as well as revisiting well-known ones with a fresh perspective. Each city is researched the old-fashioned way: asking friends, acquaintances, cab drivers and concierges for their tips and then walking, tasting, sipping, and peering into doorways and down alleys. They turn that research into a compact guide with enough suggestions to keep you entertained, with a list of shops, bars, restaurants, cafés, galleries, museums and parks, each one carefully described. Each guide is printed in England on 100% recycled paper.
Founded in 2013 by husband and wife Martin and Ann, Hoxton Mini Press are an independent publisher from East London making collectible and affordable photography books with the aim to bring them to a wider audience. From their first publication, the extremely popular I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ Years, many other Hoxton Mini Press photography series focus around East London's evolving identity. The pair have been broadening out to other areas and topics, but always with an eye on the urban and niche.
Isola Press makes adventures in illustrated books. It was founded by the writer Max Leonard in 2016 and began with an obsession with cycling and mountains, although it has now also moved into books celebrating the outdoors in general, and working with archives of sporting and cultural importance. Each book tries to do something interesting with image and text, and the juxtaposition of the two.
Notting Hill Editions is devoted to the best in essayistic nonfiction writing, taking its cue from the vivid contribution of the short text to European cultural life, judging that the moment is right to reinvigorate the essay. Founder Tom Kremer, the man responsible for discovering and licensing the Rubik’s Cube, pursues his passion to reinvigorate the art of the essay. Selected Notting Hill Editions writers come from a broad range of disciplines ensuring their books never fail to excite and inspire as they cover an ever-changing spectrum of topics.
Rough Trade Editions is a series of pamphlets bringing together the very highest calibre of artists, writers, poets, musicians, photographers, illustrators and thinkers producing work relating to their relationship with the counterculture. Brand new and original (and beautifully produced) works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, illustrations, photography and interviews — Rough Trade Books will tell the stories of why counter-culture matters, has mattered and will matter.
Thanet Writers is an independent publisher of anthologies by writers with links to the Thanet area. A non-profit Community Interest Company, Thanet Writers is dedicated to promoting education, culture and the arts, particularly literature and poetry, along with supporting local authors and poets. Along with publishing fiction, poetry, essays and articles online, Thanet Writers also create high quality books where the aesthetics are paramount and the content is individually curated by a specific editor for each discipline.
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher that gives people the tools, support and freedom to bring their ideas to life. To date, their community has pledged over £3 million to Unbound projects to fund “everything from an anthology on race and identity in contemporary Britain to a compilation of terrible old video games you’ve probably never heard of”.