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Book industries and trade -- 21st century, Literature publishing -- 21st century, Publishers and publishing -- 21st century, Private presses, Entrepreneurship, Book industry -- Digital humanities


Due to the conglomeration of media and publishing companies in the twentieth century (McCleery, 2007), the size of publishing companies has become more polarized, with a majority of small publishers comprising a small percent of revenue and market share compared to the few, but powerful, larger publishing houses (Publishers Association, ‘UK Book Publishing Industry in Statistics’ 2014). In economics, the polarizing principle asserts that ‘developments at one pole of the corporate/cultural spectrum are often counterbalanced by antithetical innovations at the other’ which has, in the publishing industry, led to ‘the emergence of tiny publishing houses’ at the other end of the spectrum in opposition to the conglomerates (Brown et al 2006). This article examines the distribution and disruption of power in the publishing industry by emphasising the role of the small press. Through interview data with small publishers in the United Kingdom, this article considers the power of the small press. Ultimately this article argues that small publishing companies disrupt the power of the conglomerates in the publishing industry by innovation—a characteristic of the entrepreneurially-oriented small firm. By using Johannessen’s six categories of newness (2001), this article illustrates the ways in which small publishers are using innovation to disrupt power in the book industry.


© 2016 Leiden University


Originally appeared in TXT, 2016, Issue 1, pages 87-93, published by Academic Press Leiden, Elsevier. May be found at

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