Saving Salt Publishing

From Chris Hamilton-Emery:

“As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we’ve £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt’s operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April’s much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It’s proving to be a very big hole and we’re having to take some drastic measures to save our business. Here’s how you can help us to save Salt and all our work with hundreds of authors around the world.


1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don’t mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you’ll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.

2. Share this note on your profile. Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it’s just one book, that’s all it takes to save us. Please do it now.

With my best wishes to everyone


Director Salt Publishing”


8 thoughts on “Saving Salt Publishing

  1. Hmm, it’s like the government bailing out failing businesses. Do it once, do it twice, start to wonder if it is a business or a charity. Maybe they should think about fundamental changes to the way they run the business, like doing more to promote the reading of poetry by non-poets and publishing poets that people want to read. The world is changing, I think we should just let this old model of the business of literature die a natural and dignified death rather than trying to fight the inevitable.

  2. I agree that the world is changing: it is changing away from the idea that the market is supreme. I don’t think you could call this a plea for subsidy, more a group of people doing something they believe in pointing out the difficulties of their situation. To my mind, there is nothing old fashioned about supporting people who do valuable work, as Salt do. Let the market do its worst and you’ve got a poetry shelf full of anthologies, or no poetry shelf at all.(TJ)

  3. I would rather buy a self-published book by a poet I know so the money goes directly to the poet and none of it ends up in the hands in the of the parasitic middlemen. Salt have been at the forefront of the intellectual takeover of poetry that has strangled the life out of it and destroyed it’s audience. Let them reap what they have sown.

  4. There is nothing wrong with the intellect. We don’t all have to be Romantics sitting under chestnut trees. Salt are part of an alternative perspective and for that reason they are valuable. As for poetry being strangled, you are just looking at the wrong neck. (TJ)

  5. The alternative to what, I wonder? John Kinsella professes to being an anarchist. I don’t know how you can reconcile a left wing politic with the kind of intellectual elitism that suggests the majority of the population are to dumb to understand good poetry. Salt of course are free to publish what they want, but I found this marketing strategy, which is what the letter is, quite offensive, with its implication that somehow buying their books is saving poetry or saving literary publishing. It’s typical of their arrogance. If their business is not viable, let them change. Do your bit for poetry or literary publishing by buying the book of your favourite poet, not as an act of charity to prop a bloated business and a bunch of bloated egos.

  6. Funnily enough, Paul, buying poetry books does indeed help to support poetry and literary publishing and in a rather less fishy way than any number of grants and subsidies.

    I mean good grief, Paul, they’re not asking for a handout, they’re asking for customers. Which is not like the ‘government bailing out failing businesses’ at all, more like pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Practically Thatcherite, if you ask me. Funnily enough the fact that the campaign actually seems to be working suggests that they have actually built up a dedicated readership.

    Salt are far from ‘bloated’, they have a large list but they are based on a very contemporary model of short run and print-on-demand rather than large stocks. To talk of publishers like this as ‘parasitic middlemen’ is only to parade your own ignorance of what they do.

  7. John Kinsella’s anarchism in no way contradicts his unpaid work as a commissioning editor for Salt. He has nothing to do with their business arrangements or management.

    Salt does its best with limited resources. Nobody as far as I can see, has suggested the “majority of the population are too dumb to understand good poetry”. It’s certainly not something John Kinsella has ever said — and I doubt anyone at Salt would think or say it either!

  8. Why did a print-on-demand publisher like Salt need arts council funding anyway?

    And how come Shearsman has managed to keep afloat? Could Salt learn a lesson here, perhaps?

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