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Meet the Publisher: Anthony O’Farrell from Logic Press

How long have you been publishing and what made you decide to enter this business?

Logic Press started in 2002. With colleagues I initiated mathematical enrichment activities (linked to the Mathematical Olympiads) for secondary school children in the mid-nineties, and we structured our activities around a book by the New Zealand mathematician Derek Holton, published by the University of Waterloo (Canada). We bought this book in bulk each year (about 90 per annum) and distributed it to our students. The stock ran out in 2002, and neither Waterloo nor the author could supply an alternative. By that stage, we had some other ideas about a better book, more suitable for Irish students, so I got the team together to write our own manual, and set up Logic Press to publish it. This was the Maynooth Mathematical Olympiad Manual. In part, it drew on a textbook book in the Irish language that I had written earlier.

My books are not mass-market items, and I publish them as a service to a small public.

What genres do you publish?  Who are your customers?

The Logic Press publishes mathematics-related books. The Olympiad Manual was revised, with input from colleagues in other universities, and became the Irish Mathematical Olympiad Manual. This is used at five enrichment centres in Ireland and across the world. Later texts were mainly for university students.  Our ‘Less Serious Division’ caters for the fact that there is more to mathematical life than mathematics.

Why did you decide to use the Lulu platform?

Initially, our books were heat bound A4 size, relatively poor print quality, and prone to come apart with heavy use. I paid the university to print them, using facilities in place. The big advantages were that I could supply them at low prices, and that I could print only on demand, holding no stock, needing no capital or support staff. I was impressed by the quality of some student-produced journals from Cork and Cambridge, and discovered print-on-demand online services. Lulu’s setup allowed me to maintain low prices, print only on demand and make a big improvement to the print quality. I am proud of what goes between the covers of the books, and glad that the appearance of the books now matches that quality.

are you using all of the Lulu services for a complete end to end solution or only some of them?

I use Lulu to print my own ISBN’s and use Lulu ISBN’s for titles needing print and distribution; using Lulu ISBN’s relieves me of the burden of distribution. I sell more books internationally since I started using Lulu ISBN’s.

I generally use the Lulu cover-design tool rather than making my own.

Do you use both print and ebook services from Lulu?

At present, I just use print. I will implement ebook delivery in the future.

Which one of your publications are you most excited about right now?

Fergal Anton’s Tipperary Tango from our Less Serious division which is a great little adult romp. Fionn Mac Tubaiste is a university lecturer, whose life is complicated by frustrating women and his part-time job as the field man of the Irish Secret Service, ASR. ASR is run by Malachy Mulligan (“M”), the least civil and least principled Principal Officer in the Civil Service. It has a surprising number of jobs to do, and Fionn is supposed to do them all. His methods are nothing like James Bond’s. The period is the early eighties. The world’s finest secret service operates in Ireland, as it does everywhere else, but it finds conditions unusually trying. When Fionn comes to the Russians’ attention, things rapidly begin to come unstuck.

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