London publisher The Folio Society sold to its workers for £10 million


ondon publisher The Folio Society revealed today that it has been sold to its 40 employees for £10 million.

The publisher has offered newly-illustrated reprints of classic books since 1947. It made over £15 million in revenues last year and says it has seen five years of consistent growth. Recent bestsellers include new James Bond editions featuring covers from artist Fay Dalton, and the Dune series.

Tomes often come with new introductions from illustrators or literary celebrities such as Stephen Fry, and can be bought online.

The company, which was bought by Labour peer and printing tycoon Bob Gavron in 1982, is now adopting a John Lewis-style structure. It will be owned entirely by its staff via Employee Ownership Trust.

The peer died in 2015 and his widow, publishing veteran and Carcanet Press owner Kate Gavron, has since acted as management board chair. She oversaw the sale to employees after the idea was muted by the publisher’s CEO of five years, Joanna Reynolds.

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Gavron said shareholders are “delighted” at the move, and that her late husband “would have approved enthusiastically”.

She said: “It is fitting that the new owners should be the employees, as they are the people who have made it what it is today.”

Reynolds said the move “reflects our values and will position the business strongly for the future”.

The publisher markets itself as by book lovers, for book lovers. Its illustrated edition of the Game of Thrones series costs around £135.