Last summer at the Photobook Bristol festival, one of the publishers in the book market was Café Royal Books. I had heard of Café Royal for a few couple years but never managed to actually see any of their publications in person which probably speaks more about me than them as they have published over 300 books since 2005.
Shankly One by Ken Grant, 12.02.15, 28 pages, 14cm x 20cm, b/w digital, Edition of 200
Concentrating on small documentary projects by mostly UK based photographers they publish books on a weekly basis. The books feel like a half-step between a ‘zine and a book, usually on one subject. Those subjects often feel like a great short photo-essay as one would have seen in magazines of the 70s and 80s.
One Day in July near Cable Street Southport by Ken Grant, 09.07.15, 28 pages, 14cm x 20cm, b/w digital, Edition of 200
The authors range from the likes of Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Ken Grant, Homer Sykes to the lesser known Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Colin Shaw, David Solomons and many others. Parr says of Café Royal, “A great archive of much forgotten documentary from the 70s and 80s.”
Shankly Two by Ken Grant, 14.05.1528 pages, 14cm x 20cm, b/w digital, Edition of 200
Café Royal was founded and is run solely by Craig Atkinson, based in the North West of England. Atkinson has a background not in photography but in architecture and himself has published dozens of the publications on his interest in the shifting face of architecture through his own photographs and in some books by using archival sources.
Chinatown 1984 by Martin Parr, 18.06.15, 36 pages, 14cm x 20cm, b/w digital, Edition of 250
The publications share the same cover design and are typically 28-36 pages, digital offset printed and priced usually £5- £7. The print runs are short, usually in 250 copies or less. Check them out, but be warned, it is very easy to become hooked on these small unassuming books to the point of becoming a collector before you realize it.