Pulp! The Classics, the imprint of Oldcastle Books, is publishing its first Shakespeare titles this autumn.
Pulp! began publishing classic novels with retro covers last year, with titles including Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. Autumn sees its first venture into the Shakespeare canon, beginning with Othello and Romeo and Juliet.
The covers for all of Pulp!’s titles are painted by artist David Mann, who works with Ion Mills, publisher at Oldcastle, to decide on an image. Mills said: “Initially we picked out classics we liked, and that sell. Three of our Pulp! titles were our bestselling titles to Waterstones.”
Talking about its first Shakespeare titles, Mills said: “We’re a pretty small company, there’s not some grand masterplan. We just sat down and thought it would be a good idea. We have visions of hordes of sixth-form students reading a Pulp! Othello . . . so complete delusions of grandeur really. The Shakespeare thing, like a lot of other things in publishing, it’s a gamble. We’ve had quite a few bits of positive feedback but there’s a lot of competition for the classics.” He added: “The most difficult bit is picking the images for the cover paintings.”
Mills hopes the Shakespeare titles will help Pulp! break into the schools and university market. “We kind of know how to sell to the book trade but we need some advice from some of those nice, friendly academic publishers about the best way to do things,” he said.