CB editions publishes short fiction, poetry, translations and other work (including a non-fiction trilogy about Finland) which ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’ (Guardian). The first four books were published in 2007, with no plan to do more. CBe titles have won prizes for fiction, poetry and translation, and have been shortlisted for other awards (the Goldsmiths Prize and Guardian First Book Award among them). The first three first poetry collections published by CBe all won the Aldeburgh first collection prize and were all shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Around a fifth of the 60-odd titles published by CBe have sold fewer than a hundred copies; others sell more. For a snapshot history of CBe, see these Sonofabook blog posts: part 1, part 2.

From 2007 the covers of the books featured simply the title and author’s name on manilla board, with respect and thanks to the paperback London Magazine editions published by Alan Ross in the late 1960s and early 70s (and designed by Ron Costley).
For a period from mid-2016, the covers of reprints of existing titles (below) alluded to the two-colour London Magazine hardback editions; from 2020 the brown covers will be be resumed.



CBe titles are distributed by Central Books and are represented to the trade by Signature Books. CBe benefits most from purchases made direct from this site; delivery within the UK is free and the books are usually sent within 24 hours of ordering.

In 2011, prompted by Arts Council cuts to several poetry publishers, CBe put on a London book fair for 23 poetry presses; this has become an annual event with around 80 presses participating and is now run by the Poetry Society. See the Free Verse: The Poetry Book Fair website.

CBe is a one-person venture run from a desk in a family living room and cannot offer work experience placements or internships. I’m sorry about this; there are some brilliant people around. CBe receives no external funding and relies entirely on sales of the books to stay afloat. 

Advances are paid against 10% royalties on net sales income. CBe takes no money from publication rights being ceded to other publishers; every writer on the list stays free. Jennie Walker’s 24 for 3 (McKitterick Prize, 2008), one of the first CBe titles, is now published by Bloomsbury (and by Soho Press in the US, Einaudi in Italy and Unionsverlag in Germany). Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch, first published by CBe in 2009 and filmed for the BBC in 2010, is now with Faber. May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break (CBe, 2014) is now published by Sceptre. Will Eaves’s Murmur (CBe, 2018) is now published by Canongate. Dai Vaughan’s Sister of the artist is published by Arléa in France, Gabriel Josipovici’s Only Joking by Gerd Haffmans in Germany, Todd McEwen’s The Five Simple Machines by Automática in Spain, Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist by Penguin in Australia, Andrzej Bursa’s Killing Auntie and Jonathan Barrow’s The Queue by New Vessel in the US.  
 
Sonofabook: a print magazine published by CBe in 2015/16. Copies of the magazine are offered here free with every purchase from this site of 2 books or more: simply add ‘S1’ or ‘S2’ in the ‘instructions to merchant’ box as you click through PayPal, or send a separate email.

Sonofabook 1 (Spring 2015; 978-1-909585-07-2; 160 pp) includes new or previously untranslated work by Will Eaves, Nancy Gaffield, Agota Kristof, Elizabeth Mikesch & May-Lan Tan, J. O. Morgan, D. Nurkse, Dan O’Brien, Francis Ponge and others.

Sonofabook 2 (Spring 2016; ISBN 978-1-909585-16-4; 144 pp), edited by Sophie Lewis, includes work by Salim Barakat, Luke Carman, Julián Herbert, Adriana Lisboa, Emmanuelle Pagano, Taras Prokhasko, Pierre Reverdy, Pierre Senges and Gabrielle Wittkop.

Sonofabook - editions 1 & 2
 

2020: in May/June, poetry by Stephen Knight and fiction by Todd McEwen; in September, fiction by Gert Hofmann and non-fiction by Will Eaves. And just possibly, poetry by Andrew Elliott. All new books will have the brown-card covers (see left) that were standard for CBe in the early days.

2019: Murmur by Will Eaves wins the Wellcome Book Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize; and is shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, and longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Publication of Murmur is taken over by Canongate. Will Eaves’s other CBe titles (The Absent Therapist, The Inevitable Gift Shop) are still available from this site. Good Morning, Mr Crusoe is published on the 300th anniversary of first publication of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, a book that has been used to embed racism and misogyny in British society. 

2018: Will Eaves, Murmur; Philip Hancock, City Works Dept.; and Blush by Jack Robinson and Natalia Zagórska-Thomas, the first CBe book to accord equal status to images and text.

2017: Jack Robinson, An Overcoat: Scenes from the Afterlife of H.B. and Robinson. Lara Pawson's This Is the Place to Be is shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize, the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Gordon Burn Prize. Diane Williams’s Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize; Will Eaves’s The Inevitable Gift Shop shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award.

The photo below is of the CBe pop-up shop in Portobello Road, London W11, in 2013.