Profile Books is taking over the publishing operations of Souvenir Press following the death of its founder, Ernest Hecht, earlier this year.
Hecht [pictured], who died eight months ago, aged 88, founded Souvenir Press 67 years ago in the bedroom of his parents’ home in 1951. Since then the eclectic list has grown to 500 active titles and is especially strong in psychology, personal development, health and wellness.
According to Profile Books, when he died, Hecht left his executors clear instructions about what he wanted to happen to his publishing company, including “a (short) list of publishers he approved of and (a much longer) one he did not want to get their hands on his life’s work”.
Profile Books confirmed it will be running Souvenir Press’ lists under the same name and maintaining their “individual character” with a new editor to be specially appointed as soon as possible in the new year.
Souvenir has three employees who are continuing to work for the estate at the moment, helping to wind it up. Handling accounts, sales and production, and admin, according to Profile, respectively one of them is retiring, one is being made redundant, and one will be working at Profile temporarily to assist with the transition.
The sum Profile paid to acquire the company was not disclosed.
Andrew Franklin, managing director of Profile Books, said: “I knew Ernest Hecht for many years and he was an inspiration to me early in my career. So, it is an honour that Profile Books was one of the few companies he was willing to entrust his publishing to. It is a privilege to be taking over Souvenir’s publishing.
“He created a marvellously eclectic list ranging from some of the peaks of European literature, including Nobel laureates, to huge mass-market bestsellers over a range of subjects that constantly surprise. Ernest himself was particularly proud of the New Horizons series which was one of the very first self-help/ health lists in the UK and remains a benchmark for books on specific physical and mental health problems.
“We will be keeping the name and lists going, honouring their quality and individual character. We will be appointing an editor to run the lists as soon as we can and we want to build on Ernest Hecht’s extraordinary 67 year legacy.”
Booksellers who want to reorder Souvenir stock should now contact Profile Books.