1 What's your company called?
2 What do you publish?
Highly illustrated non-fiction. We specialise in books on history, military, survival, natural history, travel, encyclopedias and general reference.
3 What's the story of the company?
Amber is proud to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019. We started life as a book packager in 1989, and launched our book programme thanks to a day trip to the Frankfurt Book Fair 30 years ago. We walked onto publishers’ stands with a handful of photographs and a couple of synopses, and sold two book packages at that Fair. We now publish 70 new books each year and have more than 1,400 titles in our backlist.
4 How's business?
Business is steady. We made the decision a few years ago to broaden our list, and while we continue to successfully publish specialised military titles we are now experiencing great success in a range of other subject areas.
5 What do you enjoy about being independent?
We are able to make quick publishing decisions and spend more time focussing on the creativity rather than being involved in endless meetings. We have two meetings a week with department heads and decisions are made there and then, freeing everyone up to focus on the publishing programme.
6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?
Brexit and the uncertainty of our future relationship with the EU.
7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?
Look after your assets. We have spent years creating illustrations and maps to which we own the copyright. We own most of the text we commission and we buy collections of photographs wherever possible. We have a well maintained archive of digital files of every book we have ever produced. We also have a detailed database with a complete history of every single coedition and license we have ever granted so we can chase down royalty statements, reversions or extensions to the agreements. Producing new illustrated books is a very expensive business, so it is key to make as much money from your backlist as possible to fund the frontlist.
8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?
Even though we only recently became members, the IPG has already helped us with various queries including recruitment, HR and training courses. It is reassuring to be able to call on the experience of the IPG when we need to.