Friday, 28 January 2011

The Talented Mr. Smith

This morning while getting ready to face the day, I was delighted to hear Mark Smith, on BBC Radio 4 being interviewed by the Morning Crew. I have enjoyed the disturbing work such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Roslund Hellstrom’s Three Seconds published by Quercus.

Then I read this press release, and raised my morning coffee to Mark, because as a fellow businessman myself, I know how hard [and nerve-shredding] it is starting a large company from scratch - so here's the reward -

Mark Smith, co-founder and Chief Executive of Quercus Publishing Plc, the independent print and digital publishing company, was named last night as Entrepreneur of the Year at the Grant Thornton Growth Company Awards.

Mr.Smith, aged 41, founded Quercus in 2004 with Wayne Davies. Both men were colleagues at Orion Books, a subsidiary of the Hachette group. Over the past six years they have grown the company into a business with over £30m annual revenues and operations in the USA and Australia in addition to its UK base.

‘Winning this award is a terrific compliment to the whole Quercus team,’ Mr.Smith said. ‘Creating a substantial and profitable business from scratch in a highly competitive sector like publishing is challenging, and we have had our problems along the way. But we have always stuck to our original vision – a business which combines the best aspects of new technology publishing with the key elements of more traditional publishing.’

Quercus listed on the PLUS market in 2006, and has a current market capitalization of c. £24m. In the six months to June 2010 it made £3.3m pre-tax profit on revenues of £15m. Last month it launched a US-based joint venture company, Silver Oak, in partnership with Barnes & Noble, the world’s biggest bookseller. The first book to be published by Silver Oak, Three Seconds, is currently No 9 in the New York Times Top Ten Bestsellers list.

Photo of Mark Smith with Eva Gedin [Stieg Larsson’s Editor] at the Swedish Embassy in London © 2009 Ali Karim

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