Quartet Press Close Before The Door Opens

Early last month we took a look at one of the most exciting and audacious new independent press ventures in digital publishing with our feature on Quartet Press. I think it is quite some time that a new independent press was greeted with such interest and general enthusiasm. Sadly, this within the last few hours…

“For a variety of reasons large and small, Quartet Press has decided to discontinue operations. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, a hard-working team, and the support of the community, things just don’t work out. This is one of those times. It’s disappointing to all of us, but it’s reality and we will all move on.

We are truly grateful to all of you who have wished us well. Your support and enthusiasm for our venture was humbling, and we hope you will not see our company’s disbanding as an indication that any of us doubt the viability of digital publishing. Far to the contrary — if nothing else, we have learned that the future of digital publishing, while overwhelmingly complex, will be bright indeed, and we will each be working toward that bright future via our individual efforts.”

Kat Meyer, Quartet Press, September 9th, 2009.

There is a lesson in this for everyone supportive and involved with Quartet Press, maybe even a lesson for those who chimed in on the ‘let’s wait and see the quality of books’, (Mrs Giggles Blog, Karen Knows Best), but now is not the time for finger pointing or singing the ‘told-ya-so’ chorus with a brimming smile. Setting up an independent press at any time brings with it uncertainties and no guarantees of success for publishers or authors—let alone attempting to establish one in a changing industry and in less than advantageous times.
Kat Meyer does not explain what has brought about the sudden demise of Quartet Press before a book has seen the light of day. The naysayers will suggest Quartet Press did not present a business model of digital publishing which set them apart from the crowd, but then, their business model never actually saw the light of day and it would be disingenuous to suggest this was the reason for their demise without knowing the full facts. More often than not, the success of most new businesses is based on the replication of an already tried and successful model—not the daring embracement of an untried one.
It will come as a hammer blow to the much respected Angela James who left her position as executive editor at Samhain Publishing to join Quartet Press as editorial director just last month. I wish the founders Kat, Kassia, Don and all their staff the best in their future endeavours. Spare a thought as well to the authors who may have been invigorated and excited about their projects with Quartet over the coming year. I’m reminded of what I wrote about Quartet early last month.

“I think for authors this is a case of wait and see, but above all I want Kassia and her publishers to succeed. We desperately need independent publishers at the moment in a world of magnolia publishing corporations!”

Guess we’ll find ourselves painting the place with magnolia once again this month. Some colours never look good no matter what light there is.

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