Galley Beggar Press has raised more than £42,000 in under 24 hours, "saving" the independent publisher and filling the financial “black hole” created from The Book People going into administration earlier in the week.
The indie’s founders Sam Jordison and Eloise Millar set up the GoFundMe crowdfunder, with a £15,000 target, on Wednesday morning (18th December), the day after it emerged The Book People had gone into administration.
Galley Beggar had worked with the online retailer on a special edition of Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport, as part of a set of the Booker Prize-shortlisted titles. Jordison said "we entered into a partnership with The Book People as part of our involvement with the Booker Prize this year and Ducks, Newburyport's shortlisting," totalling 8,000 books.
The Book People was due to pay the small publisher “just over £40,000” in return, however the company’s administration status meant Galley Beggar may not see a penny. Jordison told The Bookseller on Wednesday that the situation had been “pretty devastating”.
A day later, supporters have raised more than £42,000 with some well-wishers popping round in person to deliver cash. "A man just knocked on our door and gave us £250," the Norwich-based indie tweeted. "This whole day has been humbling. We have about two thousand thank you messages to write. Also: I need gin."
Jordison said: "It’s been an incredible day. The generosity we’ve seen has been overwhelming. And thanks to that generosity, we’re saved. So, the important thing we have to say in this update is that our emergency is over. As I write this, we’re at a point where we’ve raised almost as much as we were expecting from The Book People.
"Thank you. Your support has quite literally allowed us to keep going. We’re now left with the question of what happens while this fundraiser is still open. I can’t pretend that we wouldn’t still be grateful to any other supports who choose to donate. Yesterday came as quite a shock, and we’ll be able to put anything we get over that £40,000 goal into a reserve account. It will help protect us and our authors from future shocks and hopefully help us keep on putting out the good books long into the future.
"But at this point I also want to emphasise that we’re okay for now. Better than that. It feels like we’ve been granted a miracle and we don’t want to abuse that. We’re also very aware that there are other presses out there, other small companies, and plenty of individuals who still have pressing needs."
He directed supporters to the Trussell Trust crowdfunder launched this week by Picador commissioning editor Kishani Widyaratna and Influx Press co-founder Kit Caless, which has now raised more than £8,000.
Jordison added: "Anyway, we had no idea when we set up this morning in a panic (and didn’t really know what we were doing or what would happen) that we’d be secure at the end of the day. It’s quite a feeling—and we're safe because of you. Thank you."
Regarding the Booker’s involvement with The Book People’s special edition prize set, Colman Getty c.e.o. Dotti Irving told The Bookseller: "I, along with everyone at Four Culture, am sorry to hear the news about The Book People and the impact it’s having on publishers and readers. As someone who has handled PR and marketing for the Booker Prize for more than 25 years, I’d like to make it clear that there is no commercial relationship between The Book People and the Booker Prize and that no pressure has ever been put on any shortlisted publisher to take part in The Book People promotion."