Quercus Sets Its Sights on September US Launch

Since it was founded in May 2004 by Mark Smith and Wayne Davis, Quercus Publishing has become one of the largest independent book publishers in the U.K., and as the next step in its growth, the company has aggressive plans to expand in the U.S. At last …See all stories on this topic »

United Kingdom: stamp

Since it was founded in May 2004 by Mark Smith and Wayne Davis, Quercus Publishing has become one of the largest independent book publishers in the U.K., and as the next step in its growth, the company has aggressive plans to expand in the U.S. At last fall’s Frankfurt Book Fair, the publisher announced that it had signed with Random House Publisher Services to handle distribution of its print and digital titles in the U.S. and Canada when it launches with 40 titles this September. Smith hopes to scale up quickly, with a total of about 80 titles set for release in Quercus’s first year, with that count going to 120 in 2015. To complement the first list, Quercus will also release 150 e-books from its U.K. backlist “to give the launch some backbone,” Smith said, while also helping drive extra revenue. Titles that sell well will then be published in print.

Quercus has been actively thinking about an American launch for more than two years, and its editors have been acquiring titles for the last 18 months with an eye on what will work in the U.S. The debut list will reflect the publishing program Quercus has established in the U.K.—one that includes a broad range of commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction, as well as children’s books. A key part of Quercus’s U.K. success had been translated crime, a category that will be featured in the U.S. as well. In fact, the lead title for the U.S. launch will be Alex, a bestseller in France written by Pierre Lemaitre. The house will kick off 2014 with The Deliverance of Evil, by Italian bestselling author Roberto Costantini. Alex will be published under the MacLehose Press imprint, whose founder, Christopher MacLehose, acquired world English rights to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. While both the Italians and French have a number of top-rated crime and thriller authors, MacLehose predicted that the next “international crime wave will be French.”

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