News Yahoo.com, Barcelona (AFP)–Specialising in forgotten literary gems and little-known writers, small independent publishers are flourishing in Spain while the big houses are forced to merge to survive. In one of the paradoxes of Spain’s recent economic crisis and the digital revolution, small “guerrilla” publishers are sprouting in the gaps as the big guns manoeuvre. Among the new players is Jan Martí, a 33-year-old philosophy graduate who founded Blackie Books in late 2009 in Barcelona, the hub of Spanish publishing. That was just when the crisis was at its height and the rise of e-books was shaking up the traditional publishing industry.
“At first people said we were crazy or suicidal,” he said with a smile. “They would invite me to book fairs so they could see the weirdo who still believed in the future of print.” From a roomy attic overlooking the Bohemian Gracia district, he has so far published 70 books, from US counterculture novels to children’s stories to self-help guides. Martí was working for another publisher when he fell in love with a manuscript. He secured the rights to publish it himself and his publishing venture was born. That first title was “Things the Grandchildren Should Know”, a memoir by Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer of US rock group Eels. It sold 30,000 copies — not bad for a small, first-time publisher. Martí took on four more staff.
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