The figures are enough to make every publisher envious: a business that's 70% backlist, writes Liz Thomson. "That's a good position to be in," agrees Marcus Leaver, CEO of the Quarto Group. "As we look for growth both in our existing business and with any potential digital way forward, it makes life slightly easier knowing we have that solid foundation."
...In both the UK and US, the "tidying up" has seen the Aurum Publishing Group and Quayside Publishing Group names dispensed with in favour of the Quarto Publishing Group UK and USA, respectively. Together, those "traditional" publishing businesses represent 48% of Quarto turnover-a surprise to the many who think of Quarto merely as "the world's biggest packager".
...The continual re-invention of Quarto is key to Leaver in this dynamic and changing publishing environment. "Ken Fund who leads the US business has done an excellent job bringing about a re-bound in 2013 after a disappointing 2012. He re-conceived the entire business and has built an excellent senior team." He and his colleagues look for talent in both obvious and less obvious places-at Walter Foster, one key figure began her career at the LAPD! "We're not sitting at the Ivy looking to agents for the next book, so we need diversity because we need to come up with a lot of ideas.
...Quarto's ideal book is All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, a Long Island retiree. "It was first published in 1981 and still it did over three-quarters of a million dollars last year." A second edition was published last month and Leaver is touching wood that Quarto has hit pay-dirt again with Straw Bale Gardens by Joel Karsten.
See the entire story, along with an org chart of Quarto imprints here.
The books were four of six featured in the section about holiday gifts.
Of Mustang: Fifty Years, the Times says: "Donald Farr, a longtime writer and editor at Mustang-centric publications, provides a comprehensive recounting of the car's gestation as a design study in the early 1960s, its splashy debut at the 1964 New York World's Fair and its tumultuous life up through the fifth-generation model that is entering its final model year."
The Times describes Strange But True Takes of Car Collecting as a "likable book (that) serves as a "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" for car obsessives, minus the nifty cartoons."
"Libraries are full of reflective, overthought travelogues. If you prefer yours presented with all the cheer of a tall tale told in a pub and put together with the artistic élan of a family Christmas newsletter, you will strike gold," is the review of The Real Way Round.