Faber & Faber has created a new division, Faber Press, led by Henry Volans in the role of director, with Volans charged with creating a "new kind of business".
Volans is currently head of digital at Faber, working on projects such as The Waste Land app and Drama Online, which Faber created in partnership with Bloomsbury.
The new division will take in Faber's poetry, drama, film and classical music publishing across all formats, as well as including Faber Fine Press, Faber Finds, Faber Digital and developing academic and educational opportunities. It will sit alongside Faber Adult General, Faber Children's, Faber Social, Faber Academy and Faber Independent Publisher Services.
Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page said: "Henry takes on a very wide brief with this role, looking at how we create value for our authors, and for our readers. With the materials at hand – the extraordinary backlist, the talented editors, there is a huge amount that can be done. Faber Social was a our prototype for this without even knowing it, finding out what readers want and how we can connect with them. It will be a new kind of business for us."
Page said part of the impetus was to find new ways to reach readers in a period where "traditional mechanics" had weakened. He said: "It's harder for literature to find people, not because of a lack of readers, but because discoverability is harder online, and because we used to have six high street book chains and now we have Waterstones, who do a great job, but have to do their own thing. So, we need to build our own channel.
"We partner very closely with the trade, but you'd be a very strange modern business if you weren't able to provide the consumer with what they want, if they want it. We are in an age of consumer publishing, and the consumer looks to do things in a number of ways. Publishers, like booksellers, like all businesses, have to be able to do what the consumer wants. We're not particularly preoccupied with the business of selling, but we are preoccupied with creating interest in writing, partly because the traditional mechanics have been weakened – what shops can stock, how readers can find things online. We want as many channels as possible, and one of those is ourselves."
Volans added: "Many in the industry have been saying that digital strategy will become publishing strategy. This new role is a rare chance to put that into practice. I am proud to take on responsibility for Faber's arts publishing, in the widest sense. The combination of a brilliant company heritage with freedom to work in new channels is hugely exciting."
Julian Loose will continue to lead the editorial team within this business as publisher arts, alongside his role as publisher non-fiction in the adult general division. He leads the team comprising Matthew Hollis, poetry editor, Dinah Wood, editorial director drama, Walter Donohue, editorial director film, and Belinda Matthews, editorial director, music. Rachel Alexander will continue in her role as associate publisher, arts.
Faber is also recruiting for a director sales and service to replace Will Atkinson, who has joined Atlantic. Page said that position was being recruited at present with an announcement expected before the end of the calendar year.
Titles lined up from Faber Press for this autumn include Alan Bennett's Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin and Seamus Heaney's New Selected Poems 1988-2013. Faber is also launching the Faber new poets series with a tour this month, in association with Arts Council England.