Back to the books for U.K. publisher

Sarah linked earlier to an article about the troubled finances of Faber & Faber, publisher of DBC Pierre’s novel Vernon God Little.

Founded by T.S. Eliot in 1929, the company relies more than most on sales of its backlist, which includes older books by the likes of Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, James Joyce, Eliot himself, P.D. James, Kazuo Ishiguro, Peter Carey, and Milan Kundera. In recent years the company has leaned too heavily on:

royalties earned on the rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats (inspired by Eliot’s poems). The old publishing joke ran that without Cats Faber would be as poor as a church mouse. Cats has now left London’s West End and, although it will continue to contribute to the bottom line, the royalties will not be as significant as they used to be.

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