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Tue, 10 Mar 2009 04:41
Hodder and Stoughton was founded in 1868, and built on publishing the biggest quality commercial books of each era, and promoting them adventurously. Publishing in the early years included Winston Churchill, GK Chesterton and The Bible, then the 1920s brought an explosion of commercial fiction at keen prices -- Hodder's "Yellow jackets" series were the pre-cursors to the first paperbacks, and included bestsellers from John Buchan, Sapper and Edgar Wallace.
The Book Depository: What/who do you see as your primary market?
Hodder: General readers who want the best books and authors from any category -- from crime and thriller fans to readers of prize-winning books, to people who love ideas books or celebrity autobiographies.
The Book Depository: What are the principal challenges/opportunities you see at the moment in the business of publishing books?
Hodder: The principle challenges and opportunities today are probably not very different from 50 or 100 years ago -- to find tens of thousands of new readers for an author a book, and get them to tell their friends/contacts about that book. Of course there are lots of day to day challenges like how to adapt for a digital marketplace, e-books, global copyright and the costs of promoting a book effectively, but there have always been new challenges like these, and good writers and great stories tend to win through. The opportunities for huge success are greater than ever before though -- today's media and the internet can spread global word-of-mouth like never before, and extraordinary books can take off like never before.
The Book Depository: What brings you to the decision to publish a particular title/author?
Hodder: A belief from our team that that book, or writer, will grow to become a huge success -- it might be in sales terms, or possibly in terms of critical and prize acclaim, and it might not be with this book it might be many books down the line.
The Book Depository: What books are you most proud of having published?
Hodder: There are dozens of books I'm really proud to have published, and I'm proud to publish authors rather than just individual titles. I've adored John le Carre's writing from childhood and his recent book A Most Wanted Man is particularly finely crafted while delivering a great read and strong political punch. I guess the ones that also stand out tend to be word-of-mouth phenomenons -- David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain both extraordinary in their linguistic inventiveness, yet great stories too.
The Book Depository: What books are you working on right now?
Hodder: Always next season's -- next year's -- books! Jodi Picoult's emotionally powerful new novel Handle With Care, David Benioff's brilliantly moving and witty story of searching for eggs during the siege of Leningrad, and early plans for Simon Pegg's Memoir that we will publish this coming autumn. And a fair few reprints for John le Carre and Michael Parkinson too.
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