Ebury is launching a new environmental imprint with a “legacy-defining” book by David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet.
Albert DePetrillo, publishing director at BBC Books, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including audio, in a multi-publisher auction from Robert Kirby at United Agents and Michael Ridley at DLA Piper.
A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future will be released in October as a hardback, e-book and audiobook read by Attenborough, coinciding with the global release of the Netflix documentary of the same name.
The book sees Attenborough reflect on his career exploring and documenting the natural world, and the decline of the planet’s environment and biodiversity he’s observed first-hand in that time. The synopsis says: “An intimate, urgent and impassioned book born out of a lifetime’s experience and knowledge, it will also present his view on the future that lies ahead if we continue as we are, and a plan for how to avoid that future.”
Attenborough said: “This book records some of the dreadful damage mankind has already wrought upon the natural world and the real and imminent danger that things could get much, much worse if we do not act now. But it is also a hopeful book: it offers a different future. It describes some of the ways in which we can begin to turn things around if only we all have the will to do so. Surely together we must now find that determination, and begin to make that change, for the sake of all the inhabitants of our planet.”
The book will be the launch title for a new imprint at Ebury devoted to natural history, ecology and the environment. The imprint, led by DePetrillo and Ebury deputy publisher Drummond Moir, “will be a platform for a new generation of conservationists, literary writers, explorers, scientists, and campaigners who help us see the world, and make it better”. Further details on the imprint will be released later in the year.
DePetrillo said: “A Life on Our Planet is a book I’ve wanted to publish my entire professional life. It’s David’s masterpiece—a book with huge heart and urgency, and a message the world needs now more than ever. I’m honoured to be working with him, and Ebury will be putting everything behind A Life on Our Planet to make his witness statement an international publishing event.”
Attenborough has sold 1.03 million books for £13.5m since 1998 via Nielsen BookScan's UK TCM, with his 2017 memoir Adventures of a Young Naturalist (Two Roads) selling 59,553 in hardback and 65,701 in paperback.