The world has become an increasingly tough and unforgiving place for the small creative, the artisan, the little press, and in the three years I've been running my little Scottish press, I've seen things change subtly and dramatically in equal measure.
First up, the cost of materials has gone through the roof, which means that our books are costing more to produce.
This does not mean, however, that we can charge more for our books. Inflation means ordinary people cannot afford to pay more for products so if we put our prices up to cover our costs, customers, understandably, would pass us by.
So, for each per unit cost, we are making about 50 per cent less than three years ago. However our household costs have skyrocketed like everyone else.
Independent bookshops take between 40 and 50% of the book price, upon sale. Wholesalers such as Gardner's, in England, never count off shipping fees in their calculations, insisting that booksellers and publishers pay shipping costs themselves with no refunds from retailers.
This means I have made the difficult decision to not fulfill large wholesale orders of my published books, because, in effect, I would be giving away my book stock for free and paying to send them out in addition...this amounts to me paying for my books to be bought by someone else; madness!!!
Independent bookshops do not promote books, unless you're a major publisher with a famous name in the title. So by offering our books to independent and chain bookshops, we're essentially sending our stock to 'Death by Dust' on a bookshop's shelf, hidden away, unnoticed and fading fast.
In these difficult times then, I've made the executive decision, after running things past two colleagues, that I will not allow independent bookshops to stock my books, and that I will sell via my E-Shop only.
And once I have sold my stock, I will move back to artisan books in the full meaning of the word, and become a specialist artisan online store.
I have done my PRO BONO time for Scottish literature but now it's time to run this as a proper business, and make a profit.
It's been a wonderful experience though, and I learned so much.
8d Press will be selling all its stock now, before moving onto the next phase. I'm so excited about the future holds.
As the Chinese say, 'from chaos comes opportunity.' These last few years have felt chaotic. Here's looking at the future.