Looks like I've backed a winning horse. Osprey Publishing, which will be releasing my book American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics in September, had a banner year in 2008 despite the worldwide economic downturn.
According to an article in Publisher's Weekly, the military history publisher reported a 16% increase in sales in 2008 and a strong first quarter in 2009. There are a lot of reasons for this. First off, Osprey has long been recognized as the leader in short, detailed, and heavily illustrated books on military subjects. They've also built up a large and loyal fan base by encouraging and actually listening to reader input. My editor tells me there are people who buy every one of their hundreds of titles!
It's these specialist publishers who are best prepared to ride out the recession. In bad times people don't give up on their enthusiasms; they tend to retreat into them. A railfan will still buy books from Ian Allen, a romance reader will still buy from Harlequin, and a military history fan will still buy from Osprey. The familiar, favorite subjects are comforting in hard times. Osprey readers have supported the company enough that they are even creating new lines in the midst of the recession, including the Raid and Weapons of War series. Expect titles from me in both of those series in coming years. I'm sticking with the winning horse.