Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Oh, no -- more consolidation of the independent press!

Filed By Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore | August 16, 2007 3:39 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: independent press consolidation, publishing merger, queer writers, Taylor and Francis

Haworth Press, publisher of numerous imprints including Harrington Park Press (LGBT studies), Alice Street Editions (lesbian-specific), and Southern Tier Editions (gay fiction/erotica), as well as close to 200 journals, recently announced that they have been purchased by Taylor & Francis, a British academic publisher that also owns the prestigious Routledge. Haworth, by the way, also happens to be the publisher of two of my books (my first two anthologies), Tricks and Treats: Sex Workers Write About Their Clients and Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving.

It's possible the Taylor & Francis buyout could be good news for current Haworth nonfiction titles, since Taylor & Francis probably has better distribution and more high-end production methods. But it's unlikely that Taylor & Francis will continue the quirkiest of Haworth’s tastes, including many of their queer titles that would be difficult to place elsewhere. Fiction and erotica would seem particularly out of place on the Taylor & Francis list.

Haworth has been one of the few publishers consistently open to new work (especially queer work), and it seems quite likely that the Taylor & Francis purchase will make it much more difficult for emerging writers to find a venue for their work.

For another blog entry on recent independent press consolidation, click here.

Mattilda blogs at

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I see you write non-fiction, so this may not be of interest, but addressing your sentence: "Fiction and erotica would seem particularly out of place on the Taylor & Francis list."

I didn't notice myself, at first, but buried in the standard company promo at the bottom, in the very last line is: "Haworth’s trade fiction imprint, Harrington Park Press, is not included in the deal. It will be divested separately."

I have my very first novel in edits at the moment, and no idea what's going to happen to it. I'm posting relevant stuff and linking back to other author's blogs in my livejournal, if you're interested:

~ Stormy (here by way of google alerts)

Stormy, thanks so much for writing! I do actually write fiction -- my next novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, will be published by City Lights in 2008 and my first novel, Pulling Taffy, was published by Suspect Thoughts in 2003. But yes, my Haworth titles (and my two most recent books) are nonfiction.

But my concerns about the purchase of Haworth go beyond the personal... I'm worried about the increased consolidation of "independent" press, and what that means for writers, queer and otherwise, writing non-mainstream, challenging, quirky or experimental work.

As for the clause you mention, it's still somewhat confusing/misleading. Harrington Park is Haworth's LGBT studies imprint -- until maybe five years ago it was almost entirely nonfiction (including both of my Haworth books), so when they say "Haworth's trade fiction imprint," it just doesn't make sense. Maybe they're selling all of Haworth separately, or maybe specifically the fiction titles -- it's hard to say...

And I will check out your livejournal, after I get some rest -- thanks again!