Book Republic (Maverick House Publishing) – Overview (Updated 2013)

Book Republic was launched in 2010 and describes itself as a ’boutique’ imprint of Irish publisher Maverick House. Based in Dunboyne, Co Meath, Ireland, Book Republic’s operational model of publishing is different in several distinct ways to the standard model of publishing and is similar to Or Books and Publishr, and the now defunct HarperStudio.

“What makes us different from other publishers is our approach and outlook. Book Republic was set up to combat the traditional model of publishing which, in today’s increasingly uncertain market, often makes it commercially unviable to give new authors a chance to get published.

At Book Republic, we specialise in publishing quality fiction and non-fiction books in small print runs and are dedicated to promoting new writing. By focusing on smaller print runs, we have the flexibility to take on new projects which may be too risky for larger publishers. With modern printing technology, we have the capacity to print 1 copy or 1,000,000 copies and can supply our markets as they grow and expand.

We also believe in bringing our books directly to you, whether it’s by way of a specially held event, through our on-line bookshop or your local bookseller.” 

Book republic specialize POD (print on demand) and digital short print runs for fiction and non fiction titles. While Maverick House offer traditional contracts through Book Republic, they do not offer booksellers a returns facility, and focus on the development of the author’s established readership base. Overall, Book Republic can adopt an editorial flexibility on submissions and offer traditional contracts on specialized subjects it may not normally have been able to publish through Maverick House Publishing.   
At the time of the launch of the imprint last year, Jennifer Thompson, Editor with Maverick House, was quoted by Irish Publishing News on the new venture:
“We [Maverick House] will enter into traditional contracts with authors whereby we pay for publication, but the books will not be sold through a traditional retail method. It’s the normal publishing process, but it involves small print runs. At times, we may also enter into profit sharing contracts which gives us greater flexibility to meet our own requirements and the requirements of our authors. Book Republic aims to offer new authors the opportunity to get published and kick-start their writing careers.”
All in all, I welcome new approaches to publishing that Book Republic now offer authors – particularly in Ireland, where we have tended to trail behind the advent of alternative publishing paths outside of mainstream publishers. Taking a different approach to publishing is always a challenge and HarperCollins found it out the hard way with HarperStudio – the non-returns policy being one of the greatest stumbling blocks. 
Book Republic has progressed into 2011 sticking to their publishing schedule of releasing two to three titles per month. The publisher is currently open to taking submissions and has eight books now on catalogue. All eight titles have strong well-designed commercial book covers and the website notably is book-driven with plenty of links, blogs and event alerts for all their titles and authors. All books are also published both in print and ebook editions. This boutique publisher is strong on promotion for their released titles and each one has had a significantly high-profile launch involving public figures. Books are competitively priced and gained physical bookshelf space, particularly in Ireland.   
What is significant about Book Republic is not just that Maverick House are the first mainstream publisher in Ireland to explore an alternative model of publishing, but their MD Jean Harrington was elected President of Publishing Ireland (CLE), the Irish Publishers Association, last year. I’m not sure this occurrence would have happened quite so easily if Maverick House Publishing were a UK or USA publisher. Guild and associations within the publishing industry overseas tend to like their representatives to reflect the singular mainstream path. I’ve long held the view that the Irish publishing market and Irish booksellers have always been more open to new authors and publishing innovation. All the more reason why it has puzzled me as to why in Ireland we still have only a handful of companies prepared to test the norms of mainstream publishing.

Book Republic, through it’s first year of operation, and its established reputation of being an imprint of a successful and innovative publishing house – Maverick House Publishing – has proved that the soundest method of developing a different strategy can present real opportunities for new and less well-known authors. This is what makes the endeavour and success of Book Republic stand head and shoulders above the half-hearted efforts of US publishers Thomas Nelson and Harlequin with their WestBow and Dellarte imprints. Maverick House could have chosen likewise to develop a self-publishing imprint, but instead chose to follow the steadfast belief that the publisher should take the financial risk and look to be innovative about maximizing the chances of success for every book it commits to publishing. 

Book Republic on Facebook and Twitter.

This publishing imprint has dramatically curtailed its output of titles in 2012, and, as of May, the website is no longer available. At least one author has sought a rights reversion, and TIPM has heard of at least three reports that this publishing imprint has experienced problems with print/distribution of books and staff changes. This has not affected Maverick House Publishing. It would have helped if Book Republic professionally communicated its change in business strategy to all its authors. I’m afraid Twitter doesn’t count as a professional mode of contractual communication.

We’re stopping publishing our titles as PODs. They’re becoming redundant as #ebooks get more popular

Book Republic, as an imprint of Maverick House Publishing, is no longer publishing new titles. Some authors have had all rights reverted back to them.

RATING: 04/10

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