In the first of a series of blogs previewing Independents Day on Thursday 6 June, Andrew Franklin (Profile Books) asks why we need independents in the creative industries.
Apple do an awesome job with design and innovation; Google give you all the information in the world; Sony's music list is massively comprehensive, and in a lifetime you couldn’t read all the books that Random House and Penguin publish in a year. Don’t we have too much choice anyway?
So who needs independents?
The answer is that we all need independents. And we all crave independence. There is something stifling and oppressive about vast corporations – they can be bullying, tyrannical and crush innovation if it isn’t part of their five year plans. And the independents, struggling or not, probably pay more tax anyway. Independents are like laboratories for the new, they can experiment, evolve rapidly, and do new things – free of the hierarchies that silence anything seriously different in large corporations. There are compelling reasons why the indie music scene is the most interesting, and the independent publishers repeatedly win far more than their fair share of literary prizes, whether the Booker, for poetry (of course – which big publishers are serious about poetry?) and especially fiction in translation.
I am really excited to be taking part in a panel debate chaired by Stephanie Flanders on how the current economic climate is affecting publishing, the arts and media industries and what that is doing to diversity of voices.
Should we bother about independents? Find out at the ICA on Thursday 6 June.
Andrew Franklin is on a panel discussing The State We're In, a debate on how the current economic climate is affecting publishing, the arts and media industries. Part of the Independents Day Talks Programme, 2pm - 6pm, Thursday 6 June.
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