Thursday, May 03, 2007

Who Says Bigger Is Better?

It’s satisfying to see a publisher that does well by crime and thriller fiction, doing well with its own bottom line. That appears to be the result for the upstart UK house Quercus, which we’ve written about before, and about which The Bookseller offers this good news:
Quercus Publishing has seen sales rise sevenfold and has moved into profit in its second year of trading, according to the company’s results for calendar 2006, announced today.

Hailing a turnover figure of £3.6m (£0.5m in 2005) and pre-tax profit of £0.3m (£0.1m loss in 2005), Chairman
Anthony Cheetham said that, in his experience, “it is highly unusual for a new publishing company to record a profit margin of 9% so early in its history”.

Chief Executive Mark Smith attributed the exceptional sales increase to continued growth of in the contract publishing area allied to the trade publishing programme coming on stream. The trade publishing, of course, included Stef Penney’s Costa Book Award-winning
The Tenderness of Wolves and the launch of the Quercus crime fiction list.
In addition to Penney’s book, Quercus also won high praise last year for publishing Australian Peter Temple’s standalone novel, The Broken Shore.

Still more favorable press for Quercus: It was named Small Publisher of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards ceremony, held at Harrogate, England, this week. That news comes from Lucy Ramsey, the publicity director for Quercus. I’ve known Lucy for a long time, and am pleased that she is putting her long experience of the commercial end of publishing to favorable use with this dynamic young publishing house.

Incidentally, Penguin--which also produces a large number of titles in this genre--was given the award as Publisher of the Year, while picked up the Bookseller of the Year commendation.

For a complete rundown of this year’s British Book Industry Award winners, click here.

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