Doing it for themselves

Chrysalis Books, better known for acquiring imprints, is now launching one of its own</p><p>
Illustrated publisher Chrysalis Books, which has grown rapidly in the last four years by acquiring a series of struggling publishing companies, is now launching its own, home-grown imprint to stand alongside the likes of Pavilion, Robson, Salamander and Collins&amp;Brown. </p><p>
Chrysalis Impact launches this autumn under publisher Will Steeds, with seven new titles in popular culture, sport, music and erotica, supported by p.o.s. More books will follow in spring 2003, with the imprint predicted to stabilise at around 20 new titles each year.</p><p>
Chrysalis Impact is a paperback imprint, with all titles published in a distinctive square format, spread-designed and priced at under &#163;10. The seven autumn titles, which broadly reflect the media interests of the Chrysalis Group itself, present a rather lad mag feel, including as they do The Ultimate Book of Football Grudges (September, &#163;7.99, 184411001X) by Christian Smyth, How To Play Air Guitar (October, &#163;6.99, 0036) by Ian West and Steve Gladdis, NME: Top 100 Singles (October, &#163;9.99, 0060) and 500 Great Comicbook Action Heroes (October, &#163;9.99, 0044) by Mike Conroy.</p><p>
However, Steeds insists this profile will be balanced by some of the spring books: "These were the books we were able to do first; when we get into next year, there will be a lot more for women."</p><p>
Part of the rationale for launching Chrysalis Impact was a branding decision, Richard Samson, Chrysalis Books sales and marketing director, explains. "Chrysalis Books grew up over a very short space of time with a series of acquisitions, and there was this feeling out there in the trade that nobody knew what Chrysalis books was or where those imprints had gone. The imprints have their own brand values so we didn't want to lose those names, but it was important to develop a single Chrysalis logo which replaced the individual imprint logos. We were helped by the fact that the Chrysalis Group, our parent company, was at the same time going through a corporate rebranding, so we had the new butterfly image to work with."</p><p>
However, Samson felt that it was still an important omission that the publishing company did not have an individual imprint that bore the Chrysalis name: "We do want retailers to carry away the idea that we're a creative publisher in our own right." A competition was held within the Chrysalis Group to come up with a name that would reflect the projected identity of the new list, and "as this is a list with attitude", the winning entry was Chrysalis Impact.</p><p>
With design and content heavily influenced by magazines, and with a competitive price point, the Chrysalis Impact titles are intended to appeal to readers who are not necessarily constant book-buyers. "One of our consultants, Christian Smyth, once worked on lads' magazines like Loaded, so we've brought in outside influences," explains Samson.</p><p>
Although the list has been put together at speed--the decision to go ahead with Chrysalis Impact was made only in April of this year--Steeds says that the quality of the titles is also a key factor. </p><p>
"They are by no means coffee-table books. The market place that we're aiming at is the real enthusiasts. The Survival of the Fattest (September, &#163;7.99, 0001) is an anthology of the best writing from the fanzines, so it's a book for real football fans. Previous editions have been privately published by Redcar Publishing; what we did was change the format, change the design, and make it far more usable without being glossy and commercial. It comes from the fans, so it's liked because it's their own voice, not some sponsor's or journalist's voice. </p><p>
"I think our books are edgy and gritty, we're hoping to reach a much wider audience--the people who visit sports Websites or listen to the radio. I think we'll bring a lot of people into the shops."</p><p>
Benedicte Page</p>