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Launching today, Volume is a new online publishing platform powered by Thames and Hudson that seeks to connect prospective authors with a global audience of readers, and open up the world of independent visual arts publishing to the crowd... 

Like our fellow book-lovers (that'll be most of you, then), we've been excited to see the independent publishing field flourish in recent years, resulting in a plethora of beautifully-designed and innovatively produced books that might never have made it to print through more traditional publishing channels. Keen-eyed readers will also have noticed a recent upswing in the number of these being brought into the world through crowdfunding campaigns, and in many respects it's easy to see why: provided that your proposal is strong, the content looks great and you can get the word out to enough people, platforms such as these allow would-be publishers to test demand and secure sales before committing to a print run. The independent route has its drawbacks, however, and without the experience and know-how of an established publisher behind you, it's by no means an easy route.

Volume is a new online enterprise that sets out to bridge that gap, responding to the changing landscape of contemporary publishing and the relationship between the online world and the printed page. Founded by Lucas Dietrich and Darren Wall, Volume is a publishing platform through which prospective authors can pitch, fund and publish illustrated books on the visual arts, benefitting both from the expertise of the Volume team and from the opportunities that crowdfunding offers for market-testing and engaging with potential readers. Powered by publishers Thames and Hudson, it's hoped that Volume will encourage the creation of even more of the high-spec special interest titles that have seen such success within the field so far, and make the process of creating beautiful books more accessible.

Dietrich and Wall are well-placed to spearhead such a venture, as both have extensive experience within publishing; Dietrich is international editorial director and head of publishing innovation at Thames & Hudson, and Wall is an experienced independent publisher, art director, and founder of Read-Only Memory, who produce books that document important moments in videogame history. “Volume will be able to connect authors directly with their readers, rather than via the channels of the conventional book trade,” they explain. “We want to create communities around books, with all the passion and knowledge that interchange will bring about, with a creative body of work at the centre. Freed from the requirements of standard publishing models, authors will also have more flexibility in what kind of books they make, and how they can be sold.”

Through Volume, authors can submit their proposals for consideration and acceptance by the team, who will be primed to offer guidance and help with the publishing process for successful applicants. “If the proposal is merely a collected body of work without any formal editorial organisation, Volume can draw on Thames & Hudson's seven decades of art-book publishing experience and production expertise to shape the content, structure and format of the book,” say Dietrich and Wall. “However, some may approach Volume with a fully-formed book, perhaps ready for press but where production and printing knowledge is needed. Beyond that, Volume will offer insight into how a book might connect with its proposed audience — ultimately, this is the role of publisher.”

So what kinds of proposal are the team behind Volume looking for, and what should you consider if you're thinking of putting a pitch together to submit to Volume? “We want to make exceptional, collectible, beautiful books,” Dietrich and Wall explain. “Among the aspects we'd like prospective authors to consider are: how can the material be bound together to make an exquisite and desirable book or book-object? Does the content fall outside or between conventional publishing genres? Does the author have a dedicated audience, in any medium, that would provide the core readership for the project?”

Volume launches today with its first publication, Look & See by Anthony Burrill—featuring a silk-screened cover and Bodoniana binding, it's funding now, with a range of additional funder rewards from Mr Burrill available including limited-edition prints, signed editions, special collectors' copies and the opportunity for a studio visit with the man himself. Future titles lined up include a new book by renowned designer and technologist John Maeda, a reworked reissue of Reyner Banham's seminal 80s manifesto for brutalism Megastructure, and many more besides. We're looking forward to seeing what innovative, tactile and inspiring publications the platform will bring about—they say everybody's got a book in them, perhaps now's the time to start thinking a bit more seriously about yours?

To find out more, head over to the Volume website at vol.co

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Megastructure by Reyner Banham, another Volume publication in the pipeline.

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Volume also gives authors the opportunity to offer special editions and funder rewards to support their campaigns, such as this print by Anthony Burrill.