Independent publisher Robert Hale Ltd is to “withdraw from publishing” after nearly 80 years, with 10 people from the business made redundant. However, Robert Hale's lists and imprints - NAG Press, J A Allen and Buried River Press - have been acquired by fellow independent publisher The Crowood Press in Wiltshire.
Robert Hale Ltd ceased trading as a publisher on Tuesday (1st December), but will remain in business for the "immediate future" as it begins the process of calculating royalties and closing the company, it said. The company’s chairman, John Hale, said he intends to retire and realise the family’s assets next spring. The decision has resulted in 10 redundancies so far and when the entire company is "formally wound up" next spring, there will be four more people made redundant.
Gill Jackson, managing director of Robert Hale, told The Bookseller: “It is a sad time, but we are delighted that our lists, including our forthcoming titles… have been acquired by The Crowood Press. It is hoped that our authors will be as happy with Crowood as we like to feel they were with us. Certainly we have enjoyed the pleasure and privilege of being associated with so many wonderful writers.”
Founded in 1936 by Robert Hale, the company, based in Clerkenwell Green in London, published fiction and non-fiction and specialised in general hardback fiction, mind, body and spirit, biography and practical reference titles. Robert Hale's J A Allen imprint published books about horse riding and equestrianism and its NAG Press imprint published books about jewellery, precious metals, horology and gemmology.
Robert Hale published authors including Berthold Brecht, Robert Goddard, Harold Robins, Robert Block, Wendy Perriam, E.V. Thompson and Jean Plaidy.
Author Gary Martin Dobbs, whose Jack Martin western novels were published by Robert Hale, said in a blog post: "Hale had been in the book business since 1936 and are the only UK print publisher with a Western line... The UK's government's austerity policies have seen a large number of public libraries closing in recent years. Hale's Western line was largely aimed at the library market so this was a bitter blow. Add to this the upheaval to traditional publishing caused by the digital revolution, and it is a difficult market within which to do business."
Robert Hale's design and production manager, Catherine Williams, told The Bookseller: "It is sad indeed that Robert Hale has ceased trading. I've had seven very happy years working for the company and will always be grateful for the opportunities to develop my design and production skills across a wide range of titles. I wish every success to The Crowood Press in continuing the imprints."
John Dennis, chairman of Crowood, said that he was "honoured" to have the Robert Hale imprints on the Crowood list. He added that distribution would pass to Grantham Book Services from 1st December 2015 and all orders thereafter should be transmitted to them.