Café Royal Books (founded 2005) is an independent publisher based in Southport, England. Originally set up as a way to disseminate art, in multiple, affordably, quickly, and internationally while not relying on 'the gallery'. Café Royal Books publishes artist's books and zines as well as a weekly series of photobook/zines. The photographic publications are part of a long ongoing series, generally working with photographers and their archives, to publish work, which usually falls into 1970–2000 UK documentary / reportage. But not always. Every 100th photographic book, I publish as an edition of 10, a boxed set of those 100 books.
There are plenty of Q&A available by searching online, but the most important things are these; this isn't a set of rules or a manifesto.
The books should be affordable, democratic, utilitarian and useful. CRB is just me — every aspect, so I have to like the work to publish it. I won't take money from an artist or photographer, to publish their work. I dislike fuss, decoration and non-functional design. There has to be an element of fun or excitement.
Subscription is available. Only the photographic books will be part of the Café Royal Books subscription and archive boxes.
"...the work you are doing with Café Royal Books and British documentary photography 1970-2000 is very important. That so much unpublished work is at last being seen, collected and entered into the archives of institutions is fantastic. Apart from the enormous amount of pleasure you generate, what you have done and are continuing to do will give researchers of the future some quality material to get their teeth into. You are literally making a new history. And I love it."
"It is very hard to become a production powerhouse, consistently releasing titles every few weeks…its another level entirely when what your releasing is so fucking good - and important.
I can completely see a few years down the line all of Cafe Royals books being compiled into an incredibly important book or exhibition. These are incredible social releases and i dont forsee that changing anytime soon. Get whatever you, whenever you can because not only are these documenting historic images, but they are becoming important historic documents themselves. "
Tim Head, Artist, Producer, Curator, Publisher, London
"A great archive of much forgotten documentary from the 70s and 80s"
"NW England's Café Royal Books -- which releases a book every Thursday (!!) -- is one of the best indie photo publishers operating right now"
Pete Brook, Prison Photography
"I think CRBs books have an honesty and rawness, which sadly is lacking in many publications today. Also they seem to be acquiring cult status. And, of course, a real pleasure to work with."
John Claridge, Document Scotland
"No doubt that Café Royal Books is fast becoming the most important supporter of British photography in 2013"
Grant Scott, The United Nations of Photography
"Best small run publisher in the world".
"At a time when digital images are available instantly most everywhere, these slim, softcover volumes still bring a thrill. They have a samizdat feel, a natural urgency that leaves me torn between clinging to my lone copy and pressing it on someone near to me."John McIntyre
These are outlets that have stocked CRB titles. Some have up-to-date stock, some might have final copies of older titles. I try to keep this up-to-date but please call the shop before travelling.
Hard Workers Club
Parts & Crafts
Book Of Days
The Library Project
Koenig Books Cologne
Ti Pi Tin
Claire de Rouen
The Photographers' Gallery
Colours May Vary
South London Gallery
Open Eye Gallery
First Age Comics
National Gallery of Scotland
Shetland Times Bookshop
2 Willow Road
Yellow Back Books
Little Paper Planes
Marfa Book Co.
Gallery and Library Collections
Faculty of the Arts,University of Porto, Portugal
Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA
Barnard College Zine Library,NYC, USA
Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, USA
The National Gallery of Canada
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art,Kanazawa, Japan
Booklet Press, Japan
University of New South Wales, Australia
The National Art Library,Victoria and Albert Museum
The British Library
Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives
National Library of Scotland,Edinburgh
Glasgow School of Art
Camberwell College of Arts Library
London College of Communication Library
Leeds University Special Collection
University of the West of England
University for the Creative Arts
University of Central Lancashire
Winchester School of Art
Centre for Fine Print Research Special Collection
Bodleian Library at Oxford University
Cambridge University Library
National Library of Scotland
National Library of Wales
Trinity College Dublin
Exhibitions, Fairs and Workshops
Please sign up to the mailing list for information about specific fairs including dates and participants. I take part in many book fairs internationally. My books are often included in exhibitions, and I frequently give lectures and workshops at universities and galleries about my practice and publishing.
Loss / Damage
I send all but very large orders using Royal Mail. Very rarely items are damaged or lost, in which case we are insured and can re-send or refund, but only under the following conditions.
Any non-arrival of items must be reported to CRB by email within 21 - 40 calendar days of the original order being placed.
Any damage to an item must be reported to me by email immediately upon receipt of the order. To process a claim for damage I will need photographs of the damaged packaging and goods (Royal Mail terms), and may need you to ship both back to us. Please keep all damaged goods and packaging until we have spoken with the Royal Mail.
Wholesale / Trade
Please email me if you're interested in stocking Café Royal publications. Wholesale discount is 40% excluding shipping. Shipping is based on weight and location. Payment is upfront and in full for your first order and 60 days in full thereafter. For many reasons, I no longer work on a sale-or-return, or consignment basis. All wholesale orders should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org noting your shop / museum / gallery and delivery address.
All orders are processed securely online using PayPal. You can also use your credit / debit card through Paypal without having a Paypal account.
UK £2.50 per order, £0.40 each additional book.
International £3.80 per order, £0.60 each additional book.
Orders are posted usually within three working days.
I use high quality all-board envelopes and twin-wall boxes. All items are either sealed in archival sleeves or wrapped in acid-free tissue paper before posting.
Your personal information will remain confidential.
You are covered by distance selling law. You will need to pay return postage and any refund except for damage or loss in transit (see below), will be minus the original postage cost.