Whitefox at ten
In a series of blogs with IPG members celebrating special anniversaries in 2022, whitefox’s John Bond reflects on ten years providing publishing services
1. What achievements are you most proud of over your first ten years?
With any start-up, the fact that you have made it through to a 10th anniversary moment feels like an achievement in itself. I’m proud of the team we’ve built and the years of consistent growth which even a pandemic couldn’t derail. And that we are uncompromising about our commitment to creativity and quality and making the best books we possibly can.
2. What are the main ways independent publishing has changed since you started out?
Our perspective on this is bound to be slightly different as we are a creative full-service agency so we wouldn’t see ourselves as a traditional rights-owning publisher. I’d like to think the space where we operate was more open to new models and ways of taking books to market. My observation would be that over the last ten years, the best indies have consistently doubled down on what they can see works—agility, focus, lean on fixed costs, creative vision, niche expertise—and that it has stood them in good stead and the market has moved towards them.
3. What do you think are the biggest opportunities and challenges for independent publishers over the next ten years?
Challenges: spiralling supply chain costs and when to start passing some of those increases on to the consumer. And related, addressing sustainability issues around shipping. Opportunities: more focus on ’special’ limited collectible editions, NFTs, even better and more targeted consumer marketing, embracing more data and direct-to-consumer single-copy fulfilment.
4. What have you enjoyed about being part of the IPG?
Before whitefox I’d only ever known working in a large corporate publishing environment, so it has been a pleasure to be part of the collaborative and supportive network that the IPG represents. Looking at the continued success of the bigger indies such as Bloomsbury and Faber and watching the brilliant ventures from my entrepreneurial friends at Nosy Crow, Boldwood Books and Swift Press, I’d say independent publishing is in pretty rude health.
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