A “Slow Publishing” Model (That’s Actually Fast)

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Today there’s much talk of “Slow Food” and even “Slow Money”, referring to models that support the local economy, minimize environmental impact, operate on a human scale, stress diversity over monoculture, and respect the relationship side of transactions. By bringing out a book using a technology based in my backyard—the Espresso Book Machine at the Northshire Bookstore—I’ve stumbled upon a template for what I’m calling “Slow Publishing.”

With this technology you can publish a book using local labor and materials, without “outsourcing” the editing, printing, or distribution. Right here in Southern Vermont, the book got written (by me), designed (by a local artist) and formatted, printed, and distributed (by folks at the Northshire). Not only does this 1) keep resources in the local community and 2) build local production capacity, but also 3) such streamlining of functions is much lighter on the environment, particularly as books are printed and shipped as needed. Then there’s the intangible piece of building relationships. It’s hard to say how this will play out, but I am finding that people seem to have an investment in my success in a way I hadn’t experienced with big-press books. Also that people feel freer to reach out to me and talk about the work. This probably reflects the culture of sharing that has emerged through social networking.

What I envision is a 5-10 minute “Lightning Demo”. My goal is to introduce the notion of local/sustainable publishing to people at the conference, and thus broaden the way people have been thinking about new publishing technologies. I have been writing on local economies for Time magazine, Time.com, and Yes! magazine (I’ve posted a few links below) and have a piece on POD publishing coming out in the association newsletter for SPAN (Small Publishers of North America). I have also been exploring these ideas on my blog on using the Espresso Book Machine, http://litadventuresinpod.blogspot.com. I know that there’s great interest in going local, going green, and going personal, and this presentation will help people make the link between these intentions and the opportunities posed by new publishing models.

Here are a few pieces I’ve done on local economies:

—Why Buying Local Helps the Economy: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1903632,00.html

—Tough Times Lead to Local Currencies:

—Dollars With Good Sense:

Photo of Judith D. Schwartz

Judith D. Schwartz


Freelance writer and author based in Southern Vermont. I write about varied topics for publications such as Time, Miller-McCune, and Christian Science Monitor, and have just published a book, The Therapist’s New Clothes, a memoir about training as a psychotherapist, using the Espresso Book Machine. The blog for that is: http://litadventuresinpod.blogspot.com

Robin Kershaw


Robin started off as an editor in print publishing before moving into the production of children’s CD-ROM titles for Dorling Kindersley and the Walt Disney Company, among others. Since that period she has consulted and worked with US toy companies developing chip-based consumer products. She’s also been involved in visual design, web design and marketing. Robin is currently making a full circle back into publishing, working with authors to help shape, develop and publish their own digital products.

  • Ingram Content Group
  • Qualcomm
  • Copia
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Innodata Isogen, Inc.
  • Adobe
  • Aptara
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Bowker
  • codeMantra
  • Connotate
  • Google
  • HP
  • LibreDigital
  • MagMe
  • Malloy
  • Mark Logic
  • oXygen XML Editor
  • Chuckwalla
  • Foxit Software
  • Jacquette Consulting
  • Jouve North America
  • Lulu
  • Marvell
  • Media Services Group
  • PubServ
  • Safari Books Online
  • Silverchair
  • Virtusales
  • Vitrium Systems
  • Smashwords, Inc.

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