Bookouture founder Oliver Rhodes is quitting as Chief Executive of the company two years after selling Bookouture to Hachette and is planning to set up a new publishing business.
Rhodes set up Bookouture as an ebook publisher in 2012 and his marketing expertise pushed the UK firm to the forefront of digital publishing with stellar sales as it focused on genre fiction. Big Five publisher Hachette took over the firm In March 2017 and described it as being ‘the best ebook seller in the world’.
Rhodes says: ‘My time at Bookouture has been the most incredible journey, from a one-person start-up to a highly successful division of Hachette with over 30 million sales. Behind that commercial success lies both an amazing team and the most supportive and inspiring group of authors, who it has been my absolute privilege to work with for the last seven years.
‘I knew when we sold Bookouture to Hachette that I’d likely want to start another publishing business at some point and now feels like the right time both for the company and for me personally. I am very much looking forward to having time to focus on what that new business will look like.’
With his track record, Rhodes is sure to attract considerable interest from financial backers in a new venture and it will be interesting to see whether he sets up a Bookouture-type of publisher or has plans for something new.
Jenny Geras, currently Publisher at Bookouture, will take over as Managing Director from July and will also become a member of the Hachette UK board.
Hachette UK CEO David Shelley says, ‘I have loved working with Oliver. He is a true publishing visionary and in Bookouture he created one of the most exciting new publishers of modern times. In the past three years he and his team have taken it from strength to strength, with record sales and constant dazzling growth. In his role as Digital Publishing Director he has taught us all here so much about ebook publishing and has helped us greatly as a group to grow and to develop in a fast-changing world.’
Jenny Geras says, ‘I came to work at Bookouture because I was passionate about the publishing model and inspired by the way the company worked. The things that I love about Bookouture were all essential parts of Oliver’s founding vision for the company, that remain just as true today as when he started out in 2012 — a new type of publisher that, from the point of acquisition onwards, treats every author like a bestseller and aims to make every single book it publishes into a bestseller; that combines big publisher expertise with small publisher focus and attention to detail; that uses data alongside creativity to continually improve the way in which we publish.
‘The pace at which Bookouture has grown has been amazing to watch, and I believe we have the best publishing team in the industry. I am excited and honoured to be leading Bookouture in this next phase of our growth.’
Bookouture will be recruiting a Publishing Director to replace Geras and has plans for further expansion in 2020.
Bookouture is a digital-first publisher which has seen rapid year-on-year growth since its inception in 2012. Since its acquisition by Hachette, Bookouture has continued to grow its publishing teams and has 35 employees. The firm published its 500th title during 2019 and in October it announced having hit the 30 million sales mark overall. It has remained predominantly an ebook publisher although it also offers print editions. One of the firm’s expansion plans is a move into non-fiction. It accepts submissions from authors and you can find out more details at their website at Bookouture.
Other UK independent ebook publishers have set up in the wake of Bookouture’s success — notably crime and thriller specialist Joffe Books, which says it sells over two million books a year; crime and women’s fiction publisher Bloodhound Books, which has sold four million books worldwide; and Sapere Books, which publishes a range of genre fiction and non-fiction. All three publishers accept direct submissions from authors and you can find out more details through the highlighted links to their websites.