Kogan Page managing director Helen Kogan toasted her father, Philip, at a party held to celebrate the publisher’s 50th anniversary last night (25th May).
Held at Skinners’ Hall, guests included Christopher Foyle, Hachette’s commercial director Richard Kitson, recruitment consultants Jo Howard and Suzy Astbury, the PA's Gloria Bailey and Emma House, former publisher Nicholas Brealey, Bill Samuel and Vivienne Wordley, agent Andrew Nurnberg, and bookseller Trevor Goul-Wheeker.
Sharing the platform with her father, Helen Kogan said: “None of us would be here, in particular I wouldn’t be here, if not for this man [Philip].” Adding, “When i joined the company in 2000 it was a real eye-opener to shadow him and understand this fantastic energy and creative brain. To build a company that has survived for 50 years and is still growing is all down to you [dad].”
Kogan Page has been through some recent challenges, she said, but had now emerged and was growing again—at a double-digit rate. But she added that it had stayed true to its founding principles, using direct mail to stimulate demand and being close to its communities. Quoting an unnamed fellow independent publisher, she said of Philip Kogan, “‘He showed us what could be done’, and that says everything.”
Philip and Helen Kogan
Philip Kogan picked out Christopher Foyle as having had an early influence on the business having placed its first trade order. "It had real significance for us, it was the first time we thought we might be able to deal with the book trade." But Kogan joked that KP would not accept returns on this order if the books were still at Foyles. “I don't think the Kogan Page returns policy extends this long.”
He also praised the community of publishers big and small, which he had encountered through his roles at the Independent Publishers Guild and Publishers Association: “There is a democracy in publishing, small publishers could speak and become friends with large publishers, and that’s still true today.”
Of the anniversary, he added: “Of the 50 years, only 40 are mine, the rest are Helen’s.”
“She had the most difficult job, clearing up after me, and also forming a strategy in line with the things she wanted to do,” he said, “not only did she have to do all that she had to contend with the new publishing world.”
“I never meddled, did I Helen?” he added, before handing the mic to her “with considerable parental pride”.