Article on Contemporary Publishing: The rise of imprints

Publishing, be that books or magazines, is a huge industry. With the rise of conglomerations and global publishing companies, it is easy to get confused, lost or swallowed up within the industry. Global, or even, national publishing houses found a way around this, to section and subdivide their genres, authors or editors. These subdivisions can run individually, with their own identity. These are called imprints.

 ‘imprints allow a publisher to establish a brand identity for a cohesive line of books some of which may be aimed at specific segments of the market’. As publishing companies grow larger and more anonymous, imprints are a way of getting books and authors to the relevant departments and editors within the company. Additionally, big companies are frequently acquiring smaller companies, allowing them to keep infrastructure in place within the smaller company and to retain the ideology of the imprint itself.

For a new editor or publisher, creating an imprint within a larger company means that you have support from higher up within the company, but can still chose the books to publish through individual imprints. Claire Armitstead from The Guardian said that this is ‘a way of giving talented, ambitious publishers a free rein, and reassuring authors that they are not disappearing into the corporate ether’. Imprints can be particularly beneficial for new authors who need more support when first entering the publishing world. Having specific and dedicated imprints is a benefit to those, as it means books and authors get the support and positioning in the market they need to be successful.

As well as this, having specific imprints for different genres can be a benefit to sales and marketing of books as they can help identify books, how they should be positioned in the market and be categorised in bookstores. For example, the Penguin Classics imprint allows the books published within it to have the same packaging, creating a brand identity and be together as a group.

Imprints within companies are growing as there is an increased need for devoted subdivisions to cater for the amount of new book genres. For example, in the last 10 years, lifestyle and well-being books have become more and more popular, and so imprints such as BBC Books and Bluebird have risen.

For example, the publisher, Hachette has launched two new imprints in 2017 to target specific markets within their consumer base. Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s says that ‘[o]ur two new imprints will expand our offering and grow sales. These include Pat-a-Cake (baby, preschool and early years imprint) and Wren & Rook (children’s non-fiction for creative and curious readers).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *