Hells bells! It’s turning out to be a grim week for independent publishers with news this morning that distinguished British publisher, Marion Boyars has taken the decision to wind down their operations and will finally close its doors in the middle of 2010. There will be just one further release in October from the publisher who brought us literary classics like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey and ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’ by Hubert Selby.
Catheryn Kilgarriff, who took over as Managing Director of the publisher from her father in 1999, announced the news this week to their trade customers. In recent times, Marion Boyars Publishing has become a two-person operation, with Kilgarriff running the company alongside senior editor, Rebecca Gillieron. Kilgarriff cited the modern demands of discounts to book retailers and the increasing costs of marketing new titles. Kilgarriff felt their independent spirit of publishing was being compromised and ‘in the end we were lucky just covering costs.’
Kilgarriff took the difficult decision to close Marion Boyars Publishing on a planned basis rather than seek outside investment or apply for funding from the British Arts Council because ‘I am independent in spirit.’
Marion Boyars Publishing began life as Calder & Boyars in the 1960’s before splitting from maverick publisher John Calder in 1975. Marion Boyars Publishing was known as a publisher of international independent and challenging fiction and non-fiction titles for many years. Their lists of classic titles have now been acquired by Penguin Classics and will be published in new editions throughout 2010 and 2011.