Quarto consolidates UK adult trade imprints

Quarto consolidates UK adult trade imprints

Quarto is rolling its UK-based adult trade imprints into a single new imprint called White Lion Publishing.

The move sees Quarto consolidate publishing from Aurum Press, Frances Lincoln and Quintessence under one single entity. 

The change will help the publisher to "break down silos and embrace new ways of communicating with target readers", it said, while White Lion Publishing’s mission will be to “help readers understand and enjoy the world around them through expert writing, visually striking content and innovative, contemporary formats".

The new imprint will publish across several core non-fiction categories including travel, food & drink, wellness, visual arts, heritage, sport, gift, gardening, smart thinking, London and popular science.

Books will be released under the new White Lion Publishing brand – which is currently being developed – from September 2018.

Richard Green, who was promoted to group publisher in July 2017, has been chosen to lead the new imprint. Since 2015, he was publisher for the Aurum Press imprint and before that he spent seven years as publishing director of Illustrated Non-fiction Books at Quercus. 

However, following the changes, Andrew Dunn, publisher at Frances Lincoln, is leaving the firm. Two other jobs are also "potentially at risk", Quarto confirmed. It is "working with the impacted people to find other suitable positions within Quarto where possible”.​

Dunn departs after six years with Quarto and 17 years with Frances Lincoln, with Quarto explaining he “has decided to use this opportunity to seek a new challenge”. He joined Frances Lincoln in 2000 as rights executive and went on to work in international sales roles, before becoming adult editorial director in 2008 and then publisher in 2014. In the decade he has been editorial director and publisher, he led Frances Lincoln through the change of ownership while refocusing the list.

As a result, the group is recruiting for a new associate publisher. Three new positions are also being created as part of the launch of White Lion Publishing – content assistant, content designer and project editor. 

Green, group publisher, said Quarto's latest reorganisation marked "a revolution in how we conceive, commission, make, market and sell books at Quarto".

“Since the summer, we have been conducting a full review of our UK-based trade imprints in the context of a challenging market. We’re inspired by the bold move of launching a new, single imprint which will feed on our 40 years’ experience while breaking down silos and embracing new ways of communicating with our target readers. White Lion Publishing will be a revolution in how we conceive, commission, make, market and sell books at Quarto."

He added: "We also want to wish a very warm goodbye to Andrew Dunn who has been a valued colleague for many years and will always be a part of our extended Quarto family.”

The restructure follows what was termed a "full review" of the trade imprints "in the context of a challenging market". Last year was a "transitional" one for the group after it changed strategy to commit fully to books publishing. It reported a 17% publishing profit rise in 2016, when its children's publishing revenues were up 34%, but in August 2017 the company revealed revenues were down 13% to $50m in the first half of the year following "continued softness in the retail environment". At the same time, Quarto announced it was in discussions with a potential bidder to acquire the company over the summer, but talks were eventually terminated. It then announced in September 2017 it was bringing Small World Creations under the umbrella of Quarto’s London-based group of children’s imprints, Young Quarto, resulting in the closure of its Yate office in Bristol in 2018. 

Marcus Leaver, chief executive of The Quarto Group, said: “We constantly strive to keep our portfolio dynamic to ensure that we remain relevant to our readers and customers, and respond to broader market trends. This is a very exciting opportunity for Richard and his entire team to create rich Intellectual Property and find innovative ways to thrive in the modern publishing environment, and we have no doubt they will be successful in this new challenge.”