Northern Irish press Blackstaff sold to Colourpoint Creative

Northern Irish press Blackstaff sold to Colourpoint Creative

Northern Irish publishing company Colourpoint Creative Limited has bought Northern Ireland-based publisher Blackstaff Press from the Baird Group for an undisclosed sum.

Colourpoint intends to invest in and expand the publishing activities of Blackstaff Press which will continue to operate as a distinct publishing imprint. The press will remain in Northern Ireland following the acquisition.

Existing staff will continue to be involved in the business and existing relationships with sales teams, distributors and other key suppliers will remain unchanged.

Since Blackstaff Press was founded in 1971, it has published authors such as John Hewitt, Bernard McLaverty, Glenn Patterson, Patricia Craig, Ciaran Carson and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and has over 800 titles to its name.

The press has been owned by the Baird Group since 1995.

Roy Bailie OBE, chairman of the Baird Group, said: “I am delighted that this excellent local publisher is taking up the reins as I did 20 years ago from Michael Burns and as he did from Jim and Diane Gracey.”

Colourpoint has nine members of staff working from its offices in Newtownards and operates a non-fiction list alongside its education titles, distribution and self-publishing services.

Malcolm and Wesley Johnston, directors of Colourpoint Creative Ltd, said: “We are pleased that we are in a position to sustain Blackstaff Press, to invest in its future and grow the business. Its strengths in the Irish market and further afield, as well as its heritage of creative, quality and independent publishing, complement the recent developments at Colourpoint and we see this as great news for Irish publishing.”

Patsy Horton, managing editor of Blackstaff Press, said: “Blackstaff has been under the ownership of the Baird Group since 1995 and has been enormously lucky to have had its support during some very challenging times. Over those twenty-two years Blackstaff has published more than three hundred books, developed a thriving ebook list, nurtured hundreds of authors and brought pleasure to hundreds of thousands of readers. The acquisition by Colourpoint Creative represents a new and exciting phase for Blackstaff and I look forward to the possibilities and opportunities ahead.”

Damian Smyth, head of literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which has supported Blackstaff Press for several decades, welcomed the development. “These are challenging times for the book industry and vision remains at a premium", Symth said. "The Council notes that this acquisition secures the iconic Blackstaff brand to everyone’s satisfaction and so conserves a published backlist of considerable cultural and artistic value. We thank the Baird Group for sustaining Blackstaff for more than 20 years as a leader in Irish publishing and we wish Colourpoint Creative Ltd, with its own distinctive ethos, every success in developing this important brand in the future.”