White Labels Books is a print-on-demand, direct-to-consumer digital publisher. Our books do not exist for sale in physical form, but are held as high resolution PDFs on the servers of our printers, alongside 15 million other books. When you order a title from us (via Amazon), it is printed on a large format inkjet press, then packed and shipped directly from the factory to your address. You can order one copy or a million (the latter would be great). We only print what we sell, and so this means less waste and reduced transport and storage costs. This is a big issue for us, as our customers are increasingly concerned about sustainability. Our books do not have glossy outer jackets, and maximum page sizes are restricted. For us, sustainability also means questioning the lavish production values present within book publishing, and instead taking a more ‘skinny’ approach which focuses more on editorial innovation and design. The fact that we sell our books online rather than via bookstores means that we can innovate with our front covers. They are designed to be free of typography, as the title and author information are already featured within Amazon’s online page.
Ben Arogundade, Founder
I AM A LONDON-BASED WRITER, publisher and entrepreneur. I am one of eight children born in the capital to Nigerian immigrants who settled there in 1961. My father, Isola, was a writer, publisher and filmmaker, while my mother, Ade, was a nurse and mid-wife. My grandfather was the tribal king of Owu in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, from 1949 to 1972. He was one of the chief dignitaries who met Queen Elizabeth during her 1956 Commonwealth tour of Nigeria.
My family’s surname, ‘Arogundade’, after which this site is named, dates back to the battlegrounds of ancient Nigeria. It refers to a king, or ‘oba’, who dons his crown in readiness for battle. It originates with the Yoruba — a tribe of over 30 million members, mostly concentrated in the Southwest of the country. There are also many citizens of Yoruba descent spread throughout the US, the UK, the West Indies and Brazil. Yorubas have a reputation for creativity, and professional artists date back over a thousand years.
AFTER LEAVING SCHOOL I trained as an architect at London’s South Bank University. Soon after qualification I branched out into publishing, launching ‘Extract’, a cult style magazine about the lives of non-celebrities. Following this I worked as a freelance graphic designer, journalist and copywriter, winning two advertising industry awards.
A brief stint as amodel became the catalyst for my first book, 'Black Beauty' – an illustrated exploration of society's historical perceptions of the black image. The title was honoured by the New York Public Library and became the subject of a three-part BBC documentary. In 2004 I joined a start-up luxury book publisher called Gloria, as creative director. During my tenure I created four super-sized limited editions — ‘Pelé’, ‘Superyacht’, ‘Scarfe On The Wall’ and ‘New York’.
After this I developed a number of television screenplays with Hollywood actor Laurence Fishburne, who then championed my debut novel, ‘The Sexual Language Of Strangers’. In 2016 I launched my own fledgling media company specialising in books and apps. 365 Positivity aggregates health and wellbeing information into a series of self-help apps, while my publishing imprint, White Labels Books, creates print-on-demand, direct-to-consumer fiction and non-fiction. Alongside these pursuits I also work as a voiceover artist and television broadcaster.
Two of our image-only book covers. Selling online means that book covers do not need typography, as the title and author information are already featured within the page.
Our printers use paper from sustainably managed forests, and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Our interior paper stock consists of 30 per cent post-consumer waste recycled material, and our inks are chlorine-free. Improving environmental performance, driving down CO2 emissions and reducing, reusing and recycling waste is an ongoing part of the evolution of digital publishing.
Editorially, print-on-demand technology means that making changes to a published book is easy. Mistakes can be corrected or press quotes added to the cover, and the revised digital file, uploaded to the server, is available globally 24-hours later. The whole process is fast and lean. The speed at which a new edition can be published opens up new questions about exactly when a book is “finished”. This offers up exciting new creative possibilities for writers. The version of a novel published on a Monday could be different to the one available the following Friday — or a thriller could publish alternate endings from one week to the next. Since the invention of print there has never been an easier time for any literary entrepreneurs out there to set up their own small presses.
BOOKS: NEW RELEASE
In Online Dating, by
“Intriguing and powerful.”
BBC Radio 5 Live
“Extraordinary and revelatory.”
Author BenArogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.