The transaction has been structured as a purchase by Octopus of 100 per cent shareholding in the business, which remains intact as a company. Rebecca Nicolson and Aurea Carpenter will continue as Publishers of Short Books, and they will remain, together with their staff of four, in their North London offices.
Founded in 2001 by former journalists Nicolson and Carpenter, Short Books has published a wide range of bestselling titles including Change the World for a Fiver, How to be a Bad Birdwatcher, The Social Animal and The 7 Secrets of Happiness. It is perhaps best known for its hugely successful health and diet publishing, which began with The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley in 2013. This book, which became an international phenomenon, has been translated into 40 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. This was followed by The Clever Guts Diet, The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet and, most recently, The Fast 800, which has sold over 200,000 copies this year, as well as Clare Bailey’s bestselling companion recipe books.
Rebecca Nicolson and Aurea Carpenter
Over the past two to three years, Hachette UK has acquired a number of publishers – all leaders in their field – including Bookouture, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Summersdale, who have continued to develop their publishing strategies, often working in their own offices, under their talented leadership teams. They have greatly enhanced the scope and diversity of the group’s publishing.
David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK says: ‘For a long time I have admired Rebecca and Aurea’s entrepreneurialism, market awareness and feel for the zeitgeist. I am thrilled that they will be joining us at this exciting point in Octopus’s evolution and I think that everyone at Hachette UK will learn a huge amount from their tremendous publishing style and flair.’
Rebecca Nicolson says: ‘Short Books has been approached by a number of companies over the years, but we have always hesitated before. While sales have grown exponentially in the past decade – with big thanks to the Faber sales team – we have tried to remain small and fleet of foot, always determined to preserve our independent spirit and the energy and innovative environment that makes this a special place to work.
‘But when we met Alison Goff of Octopus, we swiftly realised we had met the right partner to push us further. Aurea and I are thrilled to be joining Octopus. We admire Hachette’s ethos and commitment to diverse, broad-based quality publishing. And we know that our brilliant authors and fantastic staff will all thrive with Hachette’s engine behind us.’
Alison Goff says: ‘I am a huge fan of the smart, creative publishing which Rebecca and Aurea deliver. They’re quick to spot trends and work with expert authors to bring highly topical books to the market at incredible speed. It’s a winning formula and I am enormously excited by the opportunity to work with them to grow this business further internationally.’