Top indie publisher Joffe Books buys backlist crime specialist Ostara

Leading UK indie crime fiction publisher Joffe Books has bought crime backlist specialist Ostara Publishing.

Joffe Books will be taking over the Ostara list of around 120 titles. They will publish new editions in late 2022 and 2023, focusing on marketing and design to relaunch the books to a whole new range of readers.

Award-winning crime writer and former Ostara consultant editor Mike Ripley has been approached to write new introductions to the Ostara Classics.

Ostara has a wide range of authors, including James Melville, who wrote the Superintendent Otania novels set in Japan; Janet Neel’s detective books featuring the duo of policeman John McLeish and Civil Service high-flyer Francesca Wilson; Peter Guttridge’s comic thrillers; and Christine Green’s medical investigations starring former nurse turned private eye Kate Kinsella. 

Kate Lyall Grant, Joffe Books Publishing Director, says, ‘Ostara has a well deserved reputation for the superlative quality of its crime list, and with Joffe Books’ commercial success and expertise in the digital market, we think this is the perfect fit to reach a widespread new readership for these fantastic books.

‘We will be staying true to the spirit of Ostara, and keeping the Ostara name, branding the books as Joffe Books presents Ostara Classics.’

Ostara Publishing owner Andrew Cocks: ‘Regrettably, I am no longer in a position to publish new books and give my existing titles the attention they deserve in an fast-developing publishing environment.

‘I am delighted to have found in Joffe Books a kindred spirit to take over the Ostara list of authors and truly believe that Joffe will give the Ostara authors the opportunity to reach new readers and prosper. It has been a privilege to have been involved with all these books and I could not have wished for a better home for them.’

In 2019, Joffe Books acquired the Robert Hale backlist from Crowood Press, reissuing and revitalizing the sales of authors including Roger Silverwood, Frances Lloyd, David Hodges and Bill Kitson. These authors’ books now regularly feature in the Top 100 UK Kindle chart. The overall sales of ex-Hale titles have increased over tenfold since the acquisition.

Joffe Books was set up by Jasper Joffe in 2014 and is now the biggest independent ebook publisher in the UK. In 2021, Joffe sold over three million books across crime, mystery, thriller, romance and historical fiction (and another six million through Kindle Unlimited).

The company has been shortlisted for Independent Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2020, 2021, and 2022 and also runs the Joffe Books Prize which aims to increase the diversity of voices in crime writing.