1 What's your company called?
Two Rivers Press.
2 What do you publish?
Classic and contemporary poetry, local interest about Reading’s people, history, places and culture, and art (wildlife and botanical).
3 What's the story of the company?
We celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2019. The Press was the brainchild of Peter Hay, one of Reading’s most prolific artists, and originated as a piece of very creative dissent against road builders intent on desecrating the tranquillity of the riverside where the Thames and Kennet meet. A local historian, Adam Stout, produced a micro-history of the area as part of a public enquiry, and Peter transformed it into a book called Where Two Rivers Meet.
The two rivers gave the Press its name. Their confluence, at the Kennetmouth, is a place of meeting, and since its inception we have celebrated the confluence of visual art with the written word. Working with local artists and photographers, poets and writers, we make bold illustration and striking design important elements of our work which, combined with quality writing and close attention to detail in production, instil in our publications a deep sense of pride in the place where we live.
Well over 100 titles later, Two Rivers Press continues to champion Reading: its rebels and traditionalists, the beauty of its rivers, the heritage of its industry and its art, poetry and history. Deep roots in the community have given us the vitality to branch out well beyond the boundaries of the Thames Valley, and our poetry list now features nationally acclaimed poets like Mairi MacInnes, based in York. The local interest list features books about the Vale of the White Horse and Octavia Hill, founder of the National Trust; and our art books are from award-winning artists all over the country.
The Press has been described as ‘one of the most characterful small presses in the country.’
4 How's business?
Ticking along but I wish we could sell more books!
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
The opportunity to be a truly local business. Most of us live, work and play in Reading. The Press strives to be recognized throughout the town as ‘Reading’s own publisher’ and to represent the town nationally, one day perhaps internationally. Matthew Williams, director at Reading Museum, says: ‘I don’t know how other towns manage without their own publisher’!
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
Just one?! The most pressing issue for us at the moment is paper prices and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit resulting in tariffs that would push up our print costs, even though we print in the UK mostly.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
Opportunities to learn from others. Despite having worked in the publishing industry for 25 years, there is still so much to learn.