Iain Millar, Michael Bhaskar and Nick Barreto are to launch a new digital publishing venture, with the intention of publishing a range of “engaging” fiction and non-fiction titles as e-books, apps and on the web. Canelo will launch officially in the spring, and expects to publish between 100 and 150 digital books in its first year.
The development means Bhaskar leaving his role as digital publishing director at Profile, with his last day 20th January, after which he becomes publishing director of Canelo. Millar, who becomes managing director of Canelo, and Barreto, technology director, were formerly at Quercus Publishing, but left in the autumn following its takeover by Hodder & Stoughton.
The founders said they had been discussing setting up a new kind of publishing venture for sometime, and felt the moment was right to make the move. Millar said: “We first met as trade publishing was getting to grips with the e-book revolution. Now we’re here to prove that the industry can change further, and that the market for digital reading can continue to grow.” Bhaskar added: “There is so much more to be done. Everyone has talked about the future of publishing for years—it’s time we actually got on and made it happen.” Barreto noted: “We are building a truly 21st century publisher, with the tools and agility needed to explore new opportunities to the full. Now is when things get really exciting.”
The new initiative is promising an “intelligent and sensitive use of technology” that can make publishing “more effective, more imaginative and more rewarding for everyone involved”. The company said it wants to hear from “innovative authors, agents and publishers who want to fulfil their potential in the digital age”.
Millar said the company would focus on digital-only publishing, but added that it would also look to collaborate with and consult for publishers on their digital projects. “A lot of publishers don’t know how to talk to developers, but we can do that, we can mediate,” he said.
The company, which is to be funded initially by its three founders, is now on the look out for stories with “mass appeal”, particularly crime/thrillers, dramatic sagas, and quirky biographies. Millar said there would be more announcements about what “make us different” in the coming months.
Bhaskar said it was the right moment to do something new and fresh that capitalised on their knowledge of digital publishing. “This is what we’ve been doing, and we believe in it. We don’t think this is a dying industry waiting to be disrupted. The difference here is that we understand the background. We have realistic expectations, but on an individual title basis we think we’ll be able to outperform other publishers. I can’t wait to get cracking.”
Canelo is Spanish for cinnamon.