Small presses have always struggled to compete, but New Street Communications LLC is finding its way by tapping serendipitously into literary, computing and other niche markets in the cloud.
Increasingly, the Internet helps specific segments of the publishing industry exploit gaps in content. Three years ago, nonfiction publisher Ed Renehan saw his entry point, and engaged.
“There was a very low investment required for entry into the marketplace,” Renehan said, explaining how he got started. “The digital-book technology and paper-printing technology had evolved so that one didn’t need anywhere [close to] the startup money needed before. I still see a very large opportunity for smaller presses.”
After years at the powerhouse MacMillan and then New Bridge publishing companies, New Street Communications Managing Director Renehan decided to name his small press for the street in Linbrook, N.Y., where he and his wife had once lived. The tagline on his website describes the intent: “original publishing with an attitude.”
He and his wife, Christa, jointly own the business, run out of his home in the North Kingstown village of Wickford.
In his first venture, Renehan’s friendship with Hemingway scholar H.R. Stoneback led to publishing Stoneback’s long essay, “Hemingway’s Paris: Our Paris?” It also led to New Street Communications’ first big break, thousands of sales of the essay, not only as e-books but in print.
New Street Communications sold more than 5,000 copies of the essay, now in production as an audio book.
Since that first venture, Renehan has published 17 other books, aiming for 10 a year, and added his son, William, as publisher of a subsidiary, Dark Hall Press, which publishes horror and science fiction. This fall, Renehan is embarking on a new partnership in audio books with Marine Money International, publishing “Dynasties of the Sea,” an exploration of the world of shipping magnates written by CNBC’s Lori Ann LaRocco.
Renehan hires contractors in the cloud to help copy edit and design his products, while Amazon CreateSpace is the printer. Print and e-books are then sold online via Amazon and other Web sellers, as well as through wholesaler Ingram Publisher Services for brick-and-mortar sales. E-books range from $2.99 to $9.95; print books cost between $9.95 and $27.95. Audio-book prices, which haven’t yet been finalized, will reflect the industry standard, he said.