During our first trip to Mainstreet Trading, in St Boswells, I noticed The Analog Sea Review. I was immediately captivated by this small format (7 by 4½ inches) review which includes essays, poems and non-fiction from a wide range of contributors.
Analog Sea is a small publisher based in Austin, Texas and Freiburg, Germany. Their mission is to combat the huge corporations that now dominate book publishing and selling. Their ‘thing’ is that they are entirely offline (hence, I imagine, Analog). Google produces virtually nothing in response to their name. If you want to contact Analog Sea you have to write them a letter and wait for them to send a letter back to you.
And, as you would expect, they sell exclusively through independent book shops.
Whilst described as a ‘offline journal’, the Review is, in fact, a proper book in all but name. It is over 200 pages, properly bound in beautifully illustrated hard covers. The stock is high quality and the typesetting very attractive. Several colour plates are included, some of which refer to essays in the book, whilst others are chosen simply because they are beautiful.
The first annual issue was published in 2018 but everything went quiet in 2020. Owing to the publisher’s low profile, I couldn’t be entirely sure that they were still in business. The Covid-fuelled recession has taken many good companies. However, after a period of silence, the most recent issue was available from (I think) April 2023. This is number 4.
Whether or not Analog Sea flourishes with its offline business model is something that only time will tell. For now, they produce a beautiful annual journal and - presumably - beautiful books. I say ‘presumably’ because, apart from the Review, I’ve never actually seen a book published by Analog Sea. And, without being able to use Google, I have no idea how to find one. It’s a bit like life was in the 1980s.