Design Kompany and Kismuth Books collaborate to make S P A C E


KISMUTH BOOKS is a digital publishing studio. We are based in Phnom Penh. We started in 2012 online, with the e-publication of The Elopement. So surprisingly responsive was the internet launch that Kismuth kept going, deliberately keeping digital publishing as its main focus. To keep trying things. Testing. Sharing. And writing.

Unofficially Kismuth’s been going since the mid-1980s. Journals, writing small books for friends. That’s when the story Kanishka, the first volume of the Kismuth series, is set. Most titles are memoirs; writings in first-person. Always self narrative. Experiments in writing from the heart.

Writes Kismuth author Dipika Kohli: ‘What makes something official, I wonder? Is it when you get a website, ask people to buy your books, or somehow seem like you mean what you are saying through your words…I guess I just wanted to see what would be different when I showed up on the internet, suddenly, as an author with an eBook. Things have changed a bunch since then, as they do. It’s not about the being published idea, I was not needing that kind of validation since I worked in newspapers for four years, but in using the medium we have now. Internet is two-way and many-to-many, sometimes. I remember going to a bloggers meetup years ago, right when things were new in that space for the mainstream, and people were like, “This is where it’s happening.” I was covering it for my paper, and I was the only one writing on a paper pad with a #2 pencil. Not that typing means you’re taking better notes. But, wow, did I feel like I was way, way behind the curve. This was Seattle, so, you know. Fast curves.

A new direction

TODAY KISMUTH is managed by Design Kompany. Still pushing to the edges of what publishing can be, at least, that’s its new goal from 2017 forwards. Writes Kismuth Editor Karin Malhotra, ‘The beauty of publishing today, to me, has everything to do with the two-way nature of communication. Or many-way. We can talk together in interactive spaces and write things that we would never have been able to write individually, before… because… sparks of serendipity! Happening to be where someone else is, just then. This is terribly exciting. Gone are the old times of quill and parchment, of sitting about alone in a lonely room wondering what to say, what words might be of interest to those in different places and future times. I’m looking forward to exploring what’s next, thanks to the channels we have at hand to connect, learn, grow and share. To the journeys!’