Nottingham-based independent poetry publisher Candlestick Press has achieved its best ever year, with 2019 sales up more than a third on 2018.
Candlestick Press is a small indie press that produces poetry pamphlets as an alternative to greeting cards. Its subjects include Clouds, Walking, Birds, Home and Kindness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.
"Candlestick sold 101,475 poetry pamphlets in a year which saw the launch of 12 new titles, reprints of several of its most popular sellers and several significant successes in achieving recognition for its unique ‘instead of a card’ proposition," the publisher said. Sales were up 34% in 2019 in what was its best year yet.
Candlestick’s record performance was apparently underpinned by the commercial success of a number of new titles. The top seller was Ten Poems about Walking with sales of over 5,000 copies. Other new title successes included Ten Poems about Trees and Ten Poems about Bees.
This year the press is planning to publish 15 new titles starting with Ten Poems about Baking this month and will be embarking on "an exciting venture with a new product line".
Publisher Di Slaney said: "We’ve had a remarkable year – one that demonstrates a growing public appetite for poetry and the fact that our approach of trying to capture non-traditional poetry readers is really working. Our mini-anthologies are often bought as gifts and our pamphlets’ themes – from art to sheds – are carefully chosen to reflect people’s enthusiasms.
"Over 101,000 pamphlets sold means over one million poems read. That’s quite a thrilling statistic. We’re also delighted to have donated 42% of our pretax net profit to 22 selected charities."
All Candlestick pamphlets are printed in the UK on FSC-accredited paper and the cellophane wrap is 100% biodegradable. Its sales are not recorded on Nielsen BookScan.
Last year, indie presses in the north of England told The Bookseller that readers were increasingly turning to poetry, partly in response to tumultous political events.