Octavo's Book Cafe & Wine Bar in Cardiff, set up by Accent Press two-and-a-half years ago, is under new management after the resignation of m.d. Hazel Cushion as a director and fellow shareholder Desmond Fforde. Both have sold their shareholdings to Dominic Champniss who takes on the business.
Champniss, who was recruited as the shop and cafe's events and promotions manager in August 2017, became the majority shareholder in the business on 1st November, having agreed to buy Cushion and Fforde's shareholdings. He will take over the lease for half of the premises, used as a bookshop and cafe, while Accent Press will retain half for expanded offices. This change will be effective on January 1st 2019; in the meantime the business is continuing to trade as normal.
Under Champniss, Octavo's Book Cafe & Wine Bar will remain a bookshop, Cushion confirmed. Although not much is likely to change initially, plans are afoot for the shop to offer a "more curated, niche" selection of titles as well as to begin stocking vinyl, she explained.
Originally the shop was launched in June 2016 to provide a "virtuous circle" for the Accent Press business, tying into its own publishing and self-publishing arms. Cushion said running the bookshop had been “a wonderful experience” but that taking care of two businesses had become “too much” for her and she was excited to be able to devote her energies wholly to publishing again.
"I had two businesses - the publishing company and the bookshop - and it was just too much," she said. "It was more important that I concentrate on the core business of Accent Press. It's been a wonderful experience and I've learned a lot - it has been really useful and helped shape our publishing programme in fact - but this is what's most important to me to focus on right now.
"It's really exciting because the Accent team is expanding, so that's why we're taking on the other half of building to develop our offices ... Our strategy is to develop six new lead authors in the next 18 months, both from backlist and in the form of some exciting new acquisitions."
Accent Press has already hired a new assistant as part of efforts to grow key authors the list and will be looking to take on more freelancers.
One of Accent Press' latest new signings is the first in a new historical crime trilogy from debut author and journalist Alec Marsh. Set during the 1936 abdication crisis, when Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson, it is slated for release as a lead title in July 2018.