EIBF is an additional networking opportunity in the publishing calendar but do you buy at the bookfair, or is it purely useful for promotion?
Absolutely; I’d say we probably start and conclude more business at the book festival than at any other event. The promotional aspect is huge but for getting ideas started it’s a great arena-it’s such an informal setting and everyone is quite relaxed so it’s where new ideas spring from.
Your new title, Elsewhere, is published in partnership with EIBF. Has the Edinburgh Book Festival been very important for expanding your business as an Indy?
They’ve been huge. Elsewhere is the first time the EIBF have co-published with an outside organisation, so for it to be ourselves and McSweeney’s is a huge honour. But more importantly, they might be the biggest book festival in the world, but they gave Cargo a platform from the offset-they gave us shows when we only had one book out and were just a tiny independent. They don’t forget their grassroots and I find that hugely admirable.
What do you predict as the biggest books coming out of this year’s Book Fair?
Cargo’s Elsewhere is certainly huge – 50 authors, three publishers and four books. Tales From The Mall by Ewan Morrison got a great amount of exposure at the festival, but I’m biased as that’s ours. I was really interested by some of the independent publishers’ work-Tindal Street, Freight and Comma all had excellent shows and I thought Kohl Publishing’s launch showed they mean business. In terms of the individual authors, I thought Irvine Welsh was superb and Jen Hadfield winning the Edwin Morgan Prize showed the arrival of a major new poet-as did William Letford’s appearances.