High returns and slow sales hit Salt with £15,000 shortfall

High returns and slow sales hit Salt with £15,000 shortfall

Indie press Salt Publishing is asking readers to help it “climb out of the hole” after a high number of returns and a difficult winter’s trading left it with a hefty shortfall.

The press is currently marking its 20th anniversary and also celebrated James Clarke winning the Betty Trask Prize for The Litten Path in June, alongside hitting shortlists for the Desmond Elliott and Not The Booker.

But the company said, despite those nominations, sales had been slow and a high number of returns at the end of the financial year had left it with a £15,000 shortfall.

Director Jennifer Hamilton-Emery said: “We really need to recapitalise the business. Heavy returns have wiped out our cash reserves. For a small independent like us, a £15,000 shortfall can rapidly affect our operations.

“It's our 20th anniversary year, but sales are very mixed and we’re in need of some support for our ambitious programme. We are calling on our loyal readers to buy a book and help us climb out of the hole.”

In recent weeks, the publisher has used its social media accounts to warn readers it is facing difficulties and to ask for their help to “steer the Salty ship back on course”.

Hamilton-Emery said the response from its loyal customers had been “fantastic” and many readers have been chipping in with orders.

The business is now hoping for an autumn upturn with forthcoming titles from Ursula Owen’s memoir Single Journey Only, Nicholas Lezard’s It Gets Worse and Amanthi Harris’ debut novel Beautiful Place.

Salt was founded in 1999, with a focus on poetry, going on to expand into non-fiction and fiction. During the course of its 20-year history the company's titles have won the Polari First Book Prize three times, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award twice and been nominated for the Booker on two occasions.