Established in 2010, Antenne Books is a distributor for independent publishers. It distributes publications focused on art, photography, design, illustration, theory, writing, mode and culture. It was founded due to a necessity in London to have a distributor aimed to focus more on independent books, magazine and fanzine. A need transformed into a concrete successful project, conceived by the photographer Marius W. Hansen. The founder came from Norway and decided to use the Norwegian term antenne – a word for antenna – for his distribution house, as a link connected with his origins. Quoting the Oxford Dictionary, the noun antenna means: ‘either of the two long thin parts on the heads of some insects and some animals that live in shells, used to feel and touch things with‘ or ‘a piece of equipment, made of wire or long straight pieces of metal, for receiving or sending radio and video television signals’. To summarize, an antenna is a tool that can captures signals from the outside world, exactly the mission of Antenne Books : capturing all the interesting projects from the outside independent world. Marius W. Hansen was supported by the managing director Bryony Lloyd. Bryony joined Antenne Books in 2011 when she just got her degree in illustration. She worked for a period in a library, at this time she understood her love for books and decided to devote herself to this purpose. She joined this new independent distributor, growing with the project and now managing it.
A distributor is a middleman between the publisher and the bookshops. Currently Antenne Books represents publishers from the United Kingdom, Europe, USA, and Japan. These publications are also distributed to a wide selection of bookshops and specialized retailers worldwide, with particular consideration to quality retailers. The selection starts from an open call of trusted publishers, Antenne, then, takes the most interesting material proposed. Another channel selected by Antenne Books is the publishing submissions. Anyone can submit works. What they choose, partially, depends on what they think they can sell and what their costumers are interested in. The big part of the selection is lead by the taste of the distributors, the aim is to write something that can get you noticed. The magazines are the commercial and the accessible part of the distribution, with titles such as The Gourmand, Riposte, Real Review, Buffalo Zine, Luncheon and Pleasure Garden. In this section, there has been an increase of titles throughout the years. A magazine is a way to feel free to express yourself, but it must also pay close attention to identifying captivating content in order to position itself permanently on the market. It’s in the books that the distributor takes the very risks, with a more difficult approach and a small number of publications.
The website AntenneBooks.com is a key activity of the publishing company, working both as an online shop and a living archive. There is a wide selection of artist publications, photo-books, magazines, zines, rare and out-of-print publications, monographs and more. Antenne Books has begun to work with some publishers as Aki Books, Hassla, Nieves, Seems and The Insititute of Social Hypocrisy, introducing retailers to publications that had rarely been available in Europe. Right now the titles are available from leading publishers as Loose Joints, Libraryman, Edition Patrick Frey, RVB and Osiris, Printed Matter, Apartamento Publishing, Primary Information and InOtherWords. The site becomes a digital place where these independent publications can finally find a home. The website is an appropriate mix of functionality, contemporary character and playfulness. The graphic has an overall sense of functionality: a distinctive use of color, where the green bar is the menu, the yellow bar is the about and the pink bar is the cart; moreover, a simple crasis of AB.C (AntenneBooks.Com) monogram became the logo. This is reflected in an intuitive grid-based layout that follows the way publications have been photographed. The typography is a mix of contemporary culture, accessibility and history of printed word. The graphic brand identity has been designed by the OK-RM studio that develops the platform in a visual language rooted in simplicity.
The success of the Antenne Books project was followed by the birth of Antenne Publishing: an extension of the distribution which aims to work with the artists by producing their books, multiples and limited editions. A new era for art publishing.