Print and pixels: Publishing co-op goes digital

A long standing publisher of radical and academic literature is moving forward with e-book development plans, after receiving a loan from us.

Founded in 1977, Zed Books is one of our oldest and most well established borrowers. This is the fourth in a series of loans that Zed Books has drawn from the fund in the last 30 years, and the co-operative is using the money to expand and develop its range of e-books.

Zed Books is a co-operatively owned publishing house based in London, which caters for academics and students. The co-op publishes approximately 50 new titles each year, covering a range of topics including gender studies, environmental issues, politics and cultural studies. The majority of Zed Books’ releases are produced both in hard back and paper back editions; the members are keen to respond to changes in technology and add an e-book option to their offerings.

The loan from us will be used to help Zed Books find partner organisations it can work with to transfer books into formats compatible with tablets and e-readers. The co-operative not only hopes to offer e-book versions of all new publications, but also to transfer their large back catalogue of titles into a digital format.

Due to the niche nature of Zed Books’ publishing, many of their older titles have been out of print for several years. Being able to transfer these texts into e-book versions will allow the co-op to make older texts available once more, at a fraction of the cost of reprinting. Zed Books will offer e-books through their website as well as through online shops like Amazon and iTunes.

Julian Hosie, marketing manager at Zed Books, said: “Without this money from Co-operative & Community Finance we couldn’t have moved along with the project as quickly. The loan has enabled us to formulate a plan, and given us confidence that we can follow it!

“We couldn’t have survived over the years without help from Co-operative & Community Finance, the loans they gave us have been essential. Because we’re a co-operative, traditional lenders are usually reluctant to loan us money.”

Ian Taylor, one of our loan advisers, said: “We are delighted to help Zed Books respond to changes in technology and the publishing industry. This radical co-operative has been a very reliable borrower over the years, and the members have a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience.”