I liked this quote from Will Atkinson, Sales and Marketing Director: "That's the great thing about independent publishing: we are given the time to build these people. Corporates have not necessarily got that luxury. I'm not saying we're better, but we can play a longer game."
Of course everybody agrees that big books are getting bigger - at the expense of the middle ground. Anthony Cheetham offers insight. He says the big hit isn't just big these days but huge - a million copies. And everything above budget is pure profit. The publisher then becomes a blockbuster junkie. And one success outweighs at least two failures so the odds are on the publisher's side. And celebrity memoirs are usually quick - you can have em out for Christmas. A blockbuster doesn't need more staff unlike more lesser titles.
Interesting. As on one level big publishers are said to be risk averse but ready to take punts on big advances.