Clark & Mackay sold to Ocean Reeve Publishing

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One of Brisbane’s oldest and best-known printers, Clark & Mackay, has been bought by Ocean Reeve Publishing, Australia’s leading Assisted Independent Book Publisher, bringing a new chapter to the annals of the 92-year-old business.

Bowing out: Neil Mackay
Bowing out: Neil Mackay

The deal is set to go through on 1 November. Current owner Neil Mackay is the grandson of the founder John Mackay who started the company in 1928, and son of Ian Mackay who later ran the business. Neil has been with the business for the past 56 years.

He said: “I wasn’t looking to retire. I loved the work and the company, but I’m now in my seventies, and I have been working with the new owners as a client for some time as the main Australian printer for them, and getting to know their work ethic and integrity, it was actually an easy decision. I knew the way we have looked after our community and customers for the last 92 years would continue under their leadership.”

Clark & Mackay runs offset and digital presses and works for the independent publishing sector and in general commercial work with a 50/50 split between the two. Everything bar case-binding is produced in-house. Mackay said: “We will print books in runs as low as 20 and up to around 3000."

Exciting step: Jason Smith
Exciting step: Jason Smith

Incoming managing director Jason Smith (29) currently holds the position of publishing manager at Ocean Reeve Publishing. He said: “It’s an exciting step for me, personally and professionally. To continue the legacy Neil and his family have firmly established is an honour, and after working in the publishing industry for the past three years, I can’t wait to get more involved in the print process to physically see the two connect."

Smith and business partner Ocean Reeve (45) have worked over the past few years to establish quality book publishing, marketing, and distribution services for self-published and independent authors. Ocean Reeve Book Publishing also regularly produces audiobooks, and works directly with overseas authors from Singapore, the US, and India in manuscript development.

Can't wait: Ocean Reeve
Can't wait: Ocean Reeve

Reeve said: "The publishing industry is always changing. So is print. It makes sense for us to connect the two even closer so that we stay ahead of the upcoming trends and innovations. With inkjet printing becoming more established, and technology developing faster by the minute, it is exciting to be working on incorporating new technology and processes. After all, whatever can meet the customers’ needs to the highest quality, efficiency, and service is where we will be focusing our attention.”

Reeve started his publishing career in educational publishing twenty years ago in New Zealand. “My role was as production manager, printing the books, binding, and dispatch, and over my time in New Zealand, I saw how quickly the technology changed and grew." Two years in, Reeve’s role moved into book sales and author management for the traditional and self-publishing industry. It wasn’t until after Reeve connected with Mackay in 2016, did he see how much it had changed since his time in New Zealand. “I had worked closely with another printer in Australia prior to connecting with Neil, but it wasn’t until then I really saw what digital production machines could now do – it was mind-blowing. So much had changed in a decade. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring.”

Since opening for business in 1928, the company has operated across wooden type, letterpress, offset, and now digital, specialising in self-published books – all led by a Mackay family member. Following 56 years of working in the business, Neil Mackay is trading in his printer hat for a fishing one as he heads into retirement.

Queensland independent book publishers Ocean Reeve and Jason Smith from Ocean Reeve Book Publishing take over Clark and Mackay officially on 1 November.

Reeve Publishing will now have its Brisbane offices based out of the Acacia Ridge location that currently holds Clark and Mackay. “The name won’t change, neither will the team or the great service. All that will be happening is that Australia’s leading assisted independent publishing company will also be based out of the same location,” Smith said. “And, as for Neil, well, we don’t see him completely disappearing. We’ll most definitely be calling on him for his advice and half a century of knowledge–in between his fishing trips of course.”

When asked how big a factor has Covid-19 had on the Clark and Mackay purchase, Reeve said: “Our area of focus in the publishing industry actually saw an increase in authors wanting to publish and learn how to promote since Covid. Book sales online have increased considerably, and that has meant more demands on print – for us, that’s print on demand, digital, and offset. It just made sense. What happens with Covid, I don’t know. But it won’t stop people from wanting to tell stories, write books, and see themselves in print."

Reeve and Smith said they are ecstatic with the new development in their partnership and are excited for what 2021 will bring to both the publishing and printing industries. Now with in-house editors, publishing co-ordinators, typesetters, and book marketing co-ordinators established in the Clark and Mackay building, authors can be right there as their books are going to print, along with having space available for book launches and events.

Reeve Publishing: (l-r standing): Marisa Parker (editor), Sarah Hill (publishing assistant), Darren Vassallo (videographer), Joshua Clifton (marketing coordinator), Jason Smith (director and publishing manager), Jason Martin (editor), Kristy Martin (lead editor), Beverley Streater (editor) and (l-r sitting): Vicki Jane Reeve (director), Ocean Reeve (managing director and marketing manager).
Ocean Reeve Publishing team moving to Acacia Ridge: (l-r standing): Marisa Parker (editor), Sarah Hill (publishing assistant), Darren Vassallo (videographer), Joshua Clifton (marketing coordinator), Jason Smith (director and publishing manager), Jason Martin (editor), Kristy Martin (lead editor), Beverley Streater (editor) and (l-r sitting): Vicki Jane Reeve (director), Ocean Reeve (managing director and marketing manager).
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