Well, we made it to 30! As of last February we are part of Templar/Bonnier, so not proudly independent any more, but proudly part of the Bonnier family, which gives us a lot more va-va voom.
So the thought is that for the blog I would give everyone a little trip down memory lane. This blog post is the early years. Starting out in the spare bedroom of the family house, below is the announcement in The Bookseller.And here is the hairdo which I think was trying to copy Joanna Lumley’s at the time.
One of the things I remember is getting a filing cabinet and having nothing to file. It was a bit of a shock. However, I was lucky I had been working on some projects which I was able to buy from the publisher who had taken over the company I was working for. So MIG THE PIG by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins was our first title. I am very proud of the fact that it stayed in print for years and years. Other publishers bought it and kept the whole series of introducing reading through the vowel sounds going right up until very recently.
From my house to a doctor’s surgery in Golders Green, and then Swiss Cottage, and in 1989, Castle Road – we grew a little and moved. The list had done very well in the first five years, largely due to the co editions we did with the USA. America practically bought a picture book on the first few roughs. Piccadilly was still mainly a hardback house in those days selling the paperback rights to the corporations who had the muscle to move into the mass market. By the beginning of the nineties though, the boom years were over and our print runs moved slowly down from 4000 in hardback to 2000.
What the photos are not showing are the pails for water. When it rained the roof leaked, so we had strategically placed bowls all around the office. The whole building was being renovated and another floor was being added. This took about a year and we kept moving from one floor to another as work took place.
At the beginning of the nineties publishing felt a lot tougher than it had been, but we all had electric typewriters (see Lea’s in the photo) and a fax and the list of books and authors and illustrators was building! It was exciting and fun – even sharing our first computer.
Part 2 will be about the middle years coming next week!