Bloomsbury cooks up deal with Absolute Press

Bloomsbury cooks up deal with Absolute Press

Bloomsbury has acquired independent food list Absolute Press, set up by publisher Jon Croft in 1979.

Absolute Press specialises in high-end cookery titles, publishing Keith Floyd's first title in 1981. Its titles include vegetarian cookbook Terre a Terre by Amanda Powley, The Ultimate Student Cookbook by Fiona Beckett and The Marmite Cookbook by Paul Hartley. The list contains about 100 in print titles, with Bloomsbury intending to continue to publish 15-20 titles a year on the Absolute Press imprint.

The deal was concluded today (1st September) with both parties declining to reveal the value of the deal. Croft will continue to work for the list as a consultant for Bloomsbury, commissioning authors and titles, and will employ Absolute Press commissioning editor Meg Avent and art director Matt Inwood in a freelance capacity. The team will design and package the books for Bloomsbury, presenting the final discs for Bloomsbury to then publish, market, promote and distribute. Bloomsbury will pay for the cost of the books' packaging.

Bloomsbury specialist publisher Janet Murphy will manage the imprint alongside the nautical, sports and natural history lists. Bloomsbury's existing food titles, by authors such as Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, will remain distinct from the Absolute Press list.

Murphy said: "It's a terrific list, far too good to pass up, so we decided to act quickly . . . We see it as a wonderful high quality list and as such it will enable us partly to meet the demand for really nice lifestyle books. People like to cook and eat at home, and we are hoping to feed those passions, but also because the books are of such high quality it will join the other specialist books that we aim to be the best in their field."

She added: "The food market is a growing market and we want to be part of that, and Bloomsbury has real expertise in marketing, producing and publishing food books."

Croft said: "It's my dream tie-in. We've got to a volume of publishing now where either you've got to grow, and look for investment, or you think 'now's a time to see if someone might to be interested in us'. It's ideal, Bloomsbury is still an independent, and is everything I would aspire to be." On the Absolute Press list continuing as an imprint, he said: "We've carved out our own niche and it's important that we try to keep our identity."

Murphy added Absolute Press also has a strong identity in the US and said this was "core" to Bloomsbury's new regime of publishing and thinking globally. She said it was too early to discuss whether Bloomsbury editors would work on the list or plans for future books or digital editions. She added the company will be working to make the most of the Absolute Press titles, finding the "gems of the backlist" and exploiting rights sales.

Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin added: "Publishing of any kind only works with the right authors, the right publisher and the right market. Absolute Press combines all three beautifully."