Carnegie Scotforth Books Review – A Good Publisher?

Posted on Nov 16, 2023

Avatar Of Christopher Ortiz
Home > Blog > Reviews > Carnegie Scotforth Books Review – A Good Publisher?

In recent years the number of companies offering publishing services has exploded. With the commonality of the internet, combined with an increasing move away from traditional publishers, self publishing and hybrid publishing companies are everywhere.

But, like anything in life, an increase in volume does not always result in an increase in quality and in fact, one of the issues with a saturated marketplace is the difficulty one can have ascertaining which is the best path to go down.

Hopefully, that is where this review will come in and help, as we take a close look at one such company and the wider landscape in general.

Carnegie Scotforth Books is the self publishing sidearm of Carnegie Publishing Ltd and self describes themselves as a company that “specializes in advising and helping authors to turn their manuscripts into professionally designed, attractive books.”

This review will take a closer look at that claim, exploring in detail exactly what it is that they offer, the prices they charge and ultimately whether or not Carnegie Scotforth Books should be worthy of your consideration when deciding upon which is the right publishing path to pursue.

What is Carnegie Publishing?

Carnegie began life in 1984 when history Ph.D. student Alistair Hodge was living in a Preston bedsit looking for ways to fund the remaining research for his doctoral dissertation. Alistair decided to write and publish a short introduction to the history of Preston, based upon some lecture classes he had been giving through the University of Liverpool and the WEA.

That first little book, History of Preston; An Introduction had just 32 pages, all in black and white, and had a retail price of 95p. Alistair confidently had 2,000 copies run off by local printer, T. Snape & Co., and with no distribution system save a moderately rusty bicycle, the first print run was hawked around the main Preston bookshops. An article about the venture in the Lancashire Evening Post stimulated so much interest that within a couple of weeks all 2,000 copies were sold, and another 3,000 printed. 

From those early days Alistair has always believed that good historical writing – packed with insight, explanation, interest and illustrations – has a good potential market.

Their main imprint is Carnegie Publishing, which is known for town, city and county histories, while more local history, walking books and guides are published under their Palatine Books imprint. 

Crucible Books is the umbrella under which industrial and business histories are published. All their publications strive to combine excellent writing with generous and varied illustrative material with the aim of creating beautifully designed but affordable books.

What is Carnegie Scotforth Books?

Carnegie Scotforth Books is the self publishing arm of Carnegie Publishing Ltd. They have been helping authors since 1984 and have expertise in all aspects of publishing, including editing, proofreading, page and cover design, printing, binding, sales and marketing.

When you publish with Carnegie Scotforth Books, they say that they will guarantee that you will end up with a very well produced book that you can be really proud of, and that they will do everything they can to ensure that the experience is a real pleasure for you. 

It does not matter if you do not know anything at all about publishing; they aim to help and advise you on all aspects of the process, but in a way which always leaves you in the driving seat, making all the decisions along the way.

They encourage anyone interested in working with them to contact them for an initial chat, further information and a free quotation.

Anyone interested in doing so can simply fill out a form available on their website and proceed onwards from there.

What services do Carnegie Scotforth Books offer?

Founded in 1984, it is clear that Carnegie Scotforth Books have a great deal of publishing and production expertise to offer. Their team can take your book from manuscript right through to a finished book, including editing/proofreading, picture scanning, page layout, cover/jacket design, page proofs, ISBNs (if required), and printing and binding. 

The team are described on the website as being highly skilled, caring and used to supporting authors through the publishing process, and you will work closely with the person concerned. You may not need all their services, of course, and you will be able to choose exactly what is required which is refreshing to see as many publishing companies offer inflexible packages.

Once the books are ready, if you would like help with the sales and marketing of them they can provide plenty of advice and support. You can benefit from their many years of experience in the publishing industry in respect of press releases, shop sales, niche markets, distribution etc. 

Their advice is also provided free of charge for anyone whose book they are producing, but you may also decide to ask them to produce posters, leaflets or other promotional material to suit your budget.

They also go on to say that everyone at Carnegie Scotforth is friendly, open, and straightforward to deal with, and it is very important to all of them that they do the best job they can for authors. 

They can advise you at each stage but you will always remain in the driving seat and have the final say about every aspect of your book. You, the author, will own every copy of the published books and are completely free to sell, market or give away any copies as you see fit.

Carnegie Scotforth Books Pricing and Reviews

Based on the fact that each quotation is bespoke and they do not offer any pre set packages to writers, there is little information regarding exactly how much it would cost to work with Carnegie Scotforth Books on their website.

An independent search online also reveals nothing regarding pricing, but there are a few positive reviews left from customers regarding their experience with the company.

On the website, they also have a ‘portfolio’ section that showcases some of the books they have produced in the past and it is clear that they are of good quality. Often companies offering these types of services let themselves down with the cover art and presentation looking second rate, but all of the ones on show look excellent.

There is a pattern with regards to genre though, which is worth noting as a lot of the books are historical, non-fiction or both which may give some indication into the type of genres they usually work with or have the best expertise in producing.

What are the alternatives to Carnegie Scotforth Books?

When considering publishing options, naturally you do have various paths to explore, each with its unique advantages. Here is a brief guide to alternative choices.

Traditional Publishing

  • Rigorous selection process.
  • Publisher handles editing, distribution, and marketing.
  • Longer time to publication.


  • Complete creative control.
  • Faster time to market.
  • Higher royalty rates.

Hybrid Publishing

  • Shared costs and responsibilities.
  • Some creative control, but less than self-publishing.
  • Varies widely by company.


  • Engages readers in the process.
  • Financial support from a community.
  • Authors retain creative control.

Literary Agents

  • Act as advocates for authors.
  • Navigate the traditional publishing landscape.
  • Typically work on a commission basis.

Collaborative Publishing

  • Author collaborates with a team.
  • Shared responsibilities for different aspects.
  • Can blend elements of traditional and self-publishing.

When weighing options, writers should consider their goals, preferences, and the level of control they desire over their work. Self publishing, in particular, offers autonomy, quick turnaround and direct access to readers, making it an appealing choice for many authors.

Carnegie Scotforth Books Review – Closing Thoughts

Carnegie Scotforth Books is evidently a reputable and professional company which produces high quality and thoughtfully made books. Having been in operation since 1984, there is no way they would have survived this long in business if this was not the case.

However, some things should give you food for thought when considering working with them.

Firstly, it seems they specialize in historical and non fiction books, which may mean the genre you are considering writing does not fit the bill.

Plus, although it is helpful that they offer bespoke pricing, the lack of insight at all into costs means you may waste time enquiring only to find out their services are not within your budget.

Finally, as a UK based company, anyone not working in this language or time zone may find that a stumbling block to having a successful working relationship with them.

Carnegie Scotforth Books should definitely be considered a possibility for anyone seeking to have their work published, but due diligence into the specifics, and the potential upsides of self publishing, must also be factored in before making any final decision. 

If you’re looking for the best path to publish your book and still considering your options, schedule a call with our resource team below.

New Call-To-Action

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
Liked this post? Share it with friends!

Interested in working with us?

Book a free strategy call with our expert team!