Simon & Schuster UK celebrated its 30th anniversary on Monday (16th October) at London's National Gallery, with president and c.e.o. Carolyn Reidy praising the press for transforming from a "tiny" distribution arm into a "world-class" publisher in that time.
Around 450 guests gathered in the Wolfson Gallery, including longtime S&S author Philippa Gregory, presenters Richard Madeley and Nick Hewer.
At the event Reidy praised the progress of the UK company, days after reigniting the debate over the UK's exclusive access to European rights whilst at Frankfurt Book Fair.
“Since 1987 when S&S first opened its doors in the UK… it has grown in ways which have been rewarding, gratifying and frankly, necessary,” Reidy said.
At first the S&S UK operation was “tiny” and focused only on distribution, Reidy said. “It had to fight so as not to get lost… to be honest, it was a fight that S&S UK did not always win," she added. However, since then Reidy said the company had transformed into a “first-rate, world-class publishing company that any author should be proud to call their home”.
UK chief executive and publisher Ian Chapman paid tribute to the publisher’s achievements, weeks after discussing his “rebirth” with The Bookseller following a neurological illness. He revealed to the assembled crowd his “deep-seated gratitude for the support” during his eight-month convalescence and said he was “back with renewed vigour”.
Chapman also emphasised the “intimate, nimble” character of S&S UK which differentiated itself from merely being a US outpost.
He said: “We are, of course an integral part of a global organisation, S&S Inc considerably older than us. It’s prestigious, successful… and by the way, it has great profits. So we are extremely fortunate to share a close transatlantic relationship with our US colleagues and what’s more, it benefits us immensely and we are proud. However I also like to think that we have established our own identity and unique style here in the UK.”
He added: “We’re intimate, nimble and pride ourselves on author care and publishing excellence.”
Chapman described authors as the organisation’s “lifeblood” and said he wanted to take UK company on to “new and even greater heights of success and profitability” while remaining “optimistic” about the industry’s future.
He said: “Publishing may have its pressures and challenges but I, for one, am forever optimistic about the future of books and those who write for them and I also remain forever optimistic about S&S’ role in that future.”
Guests were also treated to private guided tours of the gallery and left with an S&S branded notebook and a free ticket for the “Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites” exhibition.