The World of Books: 30 Years of Independent Publishing by Peter Owen

Peter Owen

The World of Books: 30 Years of Independent Publishing


Although an avid reader from early childhood, having access to a good family library and a well stocked public library, I was pushed into publishing. My real ambition was journalism, which I naively believed carried an aura of romance. However, having received the obligatory shorthand-typing course as equipment for reporting, I found a lack of enthusiasm from hoped-for employers. After watching my fruitless efforts to get a job, my father decided enough was enough and requested my uncle, a prominent bookseller, with good publishing contacts, to find me one. Being office boy at The Bodley Head was made more palatable by the assurance that publishing was the back-door to journalism.

Despite the uninteresting duties assigned to me, I began to realise that publishing could be a career. For several years I moved around amongst small publishing houses and acquired a knowledge of design and how books were produced. This was a time when almost any book sold because of the

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