Publisher Five Simple Steps is back

Handheld Conf team takes over much-loved web design imprint, promising to protect its heritage and expand its catalogue.

A month on from its surprise closure, Five Simple Steps, a publisher of focused web books, has found a new home. Original owners Mark and Emma Boulton shut up shop after Mark Boulton Design joined Monotype. The imprint is now to be run by Amie Duggan and Craig Lockwood, the people behind Handheld Conf, Besquare and FoundersHub.

Speaking to Creative Bloq, Duggan said she and Lockwood knew immediately on hearing about the closure of Five Simple Steps that they wanted to take it on board: "There was no decision to make - it was the next logical step for us. The core of our business is to provide services to the web industry, and Five Simple Steps closes that circle through us now offering events, videos and books."

Five Simples Steps will now be run by Craig Lockwood and Amie Duggan

Duggan remarked that Five Simple Steps since its beginning has always done one thing very well, in publishing "practical, focused and beautiful books". She said while countless other publishers produce general how-to tomes, Five Simple Steps focuses on the niche - in-depth looks at very specific topics. "That's where the value lies," she continued, "and we are committed to promoting the existing library, whilst also commissioning new works".

On that basis, we're told the new team will shortly set about printing collections 3 and 4 of the Pocket Guides, which until now had only been available digitally. Collection 6 will be announced soon, new standalone titles are in the works, and the team is keen for budding new authors with an idea to get in touch.

Duggan was also eager to add that the new team is intent on protecting the heritage of Five Simple Steps: "Although there is still a place in the market for the all-encompassing web design book, I don't believe that place is Five Simple Steps! We'll never be a big publishing company like O'Reilly, nor do we have any ambitions to be. We are proudly a small, independent publisher - a great stepping stone between those who want to self-publish and a large publishing agency. Past authors have described working with Five Simple Steps as like being part of a family, and I think that shows in the books."

As news of a 'secret sale' broke on Twitter, industry figures were thrilled to hear of the publisher's revival. Previous co-owner Emma Boulton told Creative Bloq she was particularly happy about this turn of events: "It was with a heavy heart Mark and I closed Five Simple Steps. It wasn't the outcome we'd hoped for, but we'd been unable to find a suitable partner. We were then approached by Craig and Amie, and are thrilled they'll be starting a new chapter for the imprint."

The Five Simple Steps site is fully up and running, with new titles coming soon

Boulton added that the company will remain in Wales and build into an even greater resource for the web community. "My hope is that they continue with our legacy of beautifully designed, practical books for web professionals, but I'd also like to see more community-driven content and input from customers as to what they'd like to buy," she said. "And with Craig and Amie's unique combination of skills, such as executing great ideas, event planning and management and educational training, I have no doubt they'll make a great success of running Five Simple Steps."

Words: Craig Grannell