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We caught up with Children’s Publisher of the Year, David Salariya, Salariya Publishing at The Bologna Book Fair 2010.
Could you provide background detail on your own career to date culminating in the formation of Salariya Publishing.
We don’t have a house style, with the wide variety of books that we publish, from information books to graphic novels to books for babies; we work with a wide range of artwork styles that are appropriate to the projects in hand. We are always looking for a fresh approach and the very best.
Humour plays a key role within your books. Is this a quality you specifically look for when sourcing a new illustrator?
Yes, humour is extremely important in grabbing the attention of children and adults, as is the use of speech bubbles. Humour helps us to deal with sometimes difficult subject matters and being a publisher of books for children we are obviously extremely interested in literacy and humour is one of the tools that we use to make a subject enticing and to act as a hook into a book. I like working with illustrators who can show a great sense of style and wit. I will create a project specifically around a particular artist OR I will ask an artist whose work I admire to try out a style that may be suitable for a new project.
Salariya Publishing has developed a number of innovative concepts. Could you tell us a little about your interactive web book series?
We developed the web books from the extremely successful You Wouldn’t Want To Be series (known as The Danger Zone in the UK). At about 60 titles and growing, this series has been translated into thirty languages. These books deal with the sometimes gruesome or unsavoury subjects that people from history faced. Children love them. About ten years ago Peter Cook developed four pages from each title into web books which feature some animation and speech bubbles, this draws a lot of attention to this series to the series and I think it is in part responsible for the series’ global appeal and success.
With the rise of ebooks and devices such as the iPad and Kindle, how do you see the industry changing and what impact does this have on Salariya Publishing?
This is all extremely exciting, I enjoyed our recent adventures in Augmented Reality and that we were the first publishers to publish books with new augmented reality characters. It’s wonderful being able to put sections of animation, print and music together. I really don’t know what the impact will be, when I started The Salariya Book Co we had editors, typesetters and paste-up artists with motorbikes transporting material around Brighton. Now, however, all this work can be done by a single editor. Change can be very good and does bring about opportunities. I am looking forward to seeing what will become the dominant format.
Our e-books and apps site www.appiness.me was registered some time ago to prepare for our app and e-book publications. I like the idea of putting a book straight into being an app as the costs don’t compare with printing and storing a book and although we have been printing our books on paper from sustainable forests since 1997, the impact on the environment is much less. For education the use of ebooks should be grasped with relish as material can be quickly updated and of course you don’t have children carrying a backbreaking load of books to school. We have started to commission books to be made into apps with animation; the early development work looks exciting. We wanted the apps to be able to give a different kind of experience. The reader will also have the option of switching on or off a reading voice. Our Book House catalogue will be available as an app from April 20th 2010. In the meantime we have an electronic page-turning catalogue at our website www.salariya.com and, of course, a paper version.
In your opinion, who or what leads trends within children's publishing?
At the moment technology and the increasing ease with which it is used (not to mention lower costs) is by far the most important factor in children’s publishing. Obviously there’s always another JK Rowling around the corner, waiting to turn the industry on its head, but in the meantime the development of technologies like Augmented Reality (as seen in our Book, Webcam, Action! series) and interactive books which link to the internet is incredibly important. It allows you to give so much more with your book. As with all forms of media that are threatened by technology, the key is not to fight but to adapt, and I’m excited to see a wealth of children’s books which use technology.
Please describe your average working day.
I’m not sure if I have an average working day…with being able to be in contact with the world all the time it means that working days spill into evenings, weekends and holidays. I try to make mornings for tasks associated with running the business, lunch nearly always in the same restaurant, then in the afternoon it’s down to working on new projects. I go to a life drawing class once a week. It’s important to occasionally get away from a keyboard!
What does the future hold for Salariya Publishing?
We will continue to develop our imprints Book House (www.book-house.co.uk), Scribblers (www.scribblersbooks.com) and Scribo (www.scribobooks.com). We look forward to embracing the technological changes and opportunities that the future will bring.