This article is part of the IPPY 20th Anniversary Feature Series. In celebration of 20 years of the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Independent Publisher is drawing on IPPY’s rich literary history with a series of feature articles and initiatives.

"We want to showcase how vibrant and dynamic the indie publishing industry is and always has been… the history of the IPPYs reflects the history of this industry, and the hard work and dedication of publishers who submitted 20 years worth of award-winning books," says Jim Barnes, Editor and Awards Director. "From the beginning it’s been about recognizing authors and publishers who are willing to stand for something and dare to be different. Viva la Independents!"

Check back each month for the latest feature in the series, or check out past articles below: 

Independent Publisher Book Awards Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Around the World with IPPY

IPPY Awards by the Numbers

IPPY New Year


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A History of Indie Publishing

The history of publishing can be - and is - written in many different ways. But what about the history of indie publishing? Well, much of early publishing was similar to what we today would call indie publishing - smaller houses competing to produce books in a wide variety of genres. It wasn't until the last century that the powerhouse publishers we know today rose to prominence.

In today's publishing landscape, the Big 5 dominate over clusters and pockets of competing yet mutually supportive indie publishing houses, while self-publishers blaze new paths over worn and weary publishing trails. We justifiably feel that we are at a crossroads of publishing history, but we would do well to reflect on the trends and innovations that got us to this juncture in the first place. With that in mind, we at IP compiled our version of the most notable events in indie publishing history. Our take is of course incomplete, so share more notable indie publishing moments in the comments below!



Sources:  Wikipedia's Arts and Crafts, History of Books, Hogarth Press, Gutenberg articles, University Press Publishing in the United States by Peter Givler, via AAUP