Rankin tells Orion: 'Authors need publishers'

Rankin tells Orion: 'Authors need publishers'

Author Ian Rankin stressed that authors "really need publishers", especially "as more content floods the market, of varying quality", as his own publisher Orion celebrated its 20th anniversary at a reception at the Natural History Museum in London last night.

Rankin, who was one of the original authors to join Orion 20 years ago along with Lady Antonia Fraser and Maeve Binchy, said in a speech to the assembled company that publishers were needed by authors to produce "well put together, well edited, displayed and marketed" stories to "fans of the written word in all its forms". He said: "Publishers need authors but authors really need publishers, especially as more content flood the market of varying quality". He himself had signed another two-book deal with the publisher earlier in the day, he added.

Meanwhile, Orion chief executive Peter Roche said that over the past 20 years, "the world of the written word has experienced its biggest transformation since the invention of the printing press". He referred to many "household names" on the high street having closed in that time, as well as 500 independent bookshops, adding: "The rise of online sales has been relentless."  

He said that while print remains at the core of Orion's business, "e-books are here to stay", adding "digital is crucial right across our business", and Orion aiming to have 100% of its backlist titles converted to e-books by the end of 2012. He dedicated the future to Orion's authors, saying: "Our future is in your words".

The evening marked Orion's "20 years as a publishing business, from birth through acquisition to the mature business it is today", Roche said.

Among the nearly 1,000 attendees were Orion founders Anthony Cheetham and Rosie de Courcy, now of Head of Zeus and Preface respectively, Weidenfeld & Nicolson founder Lord Weidenfeld, as well as Orion authors and publishers including managing director Susan Lamb, deputy publisher Jon Wood, the Hairy Bikers, A A Gill, Lady Antonia Fraser, Lord Browne and Anthony Horowitz. Colleagues from throughout the industry, including rival publishing houses, joined in the celebration.