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Economy down; Soft Skull’s sales up

It may be counterintuitive, but in an interview with Scott Esposito, Soft Skull Press publisher Richard Nash says that his company’s sales were actually up last year, despite the persistence and scope of the global recession. The small American press made “a hair short of a million net” in 2008, which Nash calls “a great year.”

Calling the book “the most robust and fine-tuned of the anolog technologies,” Nash claims that people are only now seeing the effect of changes in the way the medium is consumed. According to Nash, the shift in consumer spending patterns is not so much a bellwether of doom as an opportunity for innovation:

And the impact is currently less on the industry itself; it’s more that the cumulative effect of the changes from other industries, chiefly the amount of content consumed online, is drawing people away from the printed book format. The shift can be cause for gloom if you’re of the handwringing temperament, but it is far more an opportunity to rid the publishing business of a lot of cant and laziness and arrogance.