INDEPENDENT THINKING SINCE 1795
Dracula, Walter Scott, a Pulitzer Prize and more - discover the history, notable books and authors of Constable & Robinson, leading independent book publisher since 1795, and 2012 Independent Publisher of the Year (Bookseller Award and IPG Award).
The name Constable first appeared as the publisher’s name on a book in 1795 when Archibald Constable, an Edinburgh bookseller, opened an antiquarian bookshop in Edinburgh and began to publish a few original works under his own name. More than two hundred years later, Constable & Robinson still publishes under the name of Constable and is the oldest independent publishing house in the English-speaking world still trading under the name of its founder. The company and the name of Constable has a rich and varied heritage.
Archibald Constable sets up his antiquarian bookshop in Edinburgh selling ‘Scarce Old Books’ and begins to publish under his own name. George III is on the throne, the Prime Minister is William Pitt the Younger and construction of the Bank of England begins while a new tax on hair-powder quickly ends the fashion for powdering hair.
Constable publishes Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel
Constable pays Scott an enormous advance of 1000 guineas for his long poem Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field. By 1836 more than 50,000 copies have been sold.
Constable buys the copyright of the Encyclopaedia Britannica for about £13,000
Archibald Constable dies at his home in Edinburgh.
Archibald Constable’s son, Thomas, enjoys success with his printing company, and launches into publishing under his own name. When Thomas dies 34 years later, his son Archibald (the second) takes over the printing business.
Archibald Constable & Co. Ltd opens its offices in Newgate Street in London.
Constable becomes one of the 58 founder members of the Publishers’ Association.
Constable & Co. publishes Bram Stoker’s The Un-Dead, later to be retitled Dracula.
Constable & Co. publishes Henry James’s The Wings of the Dove.
George Bernard Shaw and Constable begin a publishing relationship which continues for the next 47 years.
Michael Sadleir joins Constable. An influential publisher who acquired many important writers for the firm, he remained with Constable until his retirement in 1957. He also wrote many successful novels, including Fanny by Gaslight which was filmed in 1944.
Fiercely opposed to the war, Bernard Shaw offers his article Common Sense About the War to Constable, writing "Would there be any sale for a sixpenny reprint entitled A Sensible View of the War or A Little Truth and Commonsense about the War or something like that? You wouldn’t mind having your windows broken, would you?" Published as a supplement to the New Statesman it causes huge controversy – newspapers tell their readers to boycott his plays, while libraries and bookshops remove his works from their shelves.
First world publication of Herman Melville’s novella Billy Budd by Constable
Constable publishes Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.
Michael Sadleir acquires John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer.
Constable publishes Jean Rhys’ Voyage in the Dark and Good Morning, Midnight (1939).
Many of Constable’s books are destroyed in the Blitz bombing of Paternoster Row, then the heart of London's wholesale book trade.
Publication of Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton.
Publication of The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz.
Constable becomes the exclusive UK agent for Dover Publications Inc.
Constable begins to publish B.S. Johnson’s avant-garde novels, which included many unusual literary and production techniques.
Constable buys UK rights in Charles Webb’s The Graduate, shortly afterwards becoming the Oscar-winning film starring Dustin Hoffman.
The Hutchinson Group buys a minority shareholding in Constable. Hutchinson is later bought by London Weekend Television (LWT).
Robinson Publishing founded by Nick Robinson.
Constable’s crime list expands when it buys R.D. Wingfield’s Frost at Christmas, the first of a series of crime thrillers that became the basis of the popular TV series A Touch of Frost.
Constable & Co. merges with Robinson Publishing and the two lists are consolidated as Constable & Robinson Ltd.
Elliot Right Way Books, a successful publisher of ‘how-to’ titles, is purchased by Constable & Robinson Ltd.
Constable launches a new fiction imprint, Corsair, which sees one of its first titles - Jennifer Egan's groundbreaking A Visit from the Goon Squad - win the Pulitzer Fiction Prize.
Awarded 2012 Independent Publisher of the Year at both the Bookseller awards and the IPG awards, as well as Trade Publisher of the Year and the Ingram Digital Publishing Award.
Constable & Robinson's Right Way imprint is joined by the respected How To Books list, offering inspirational guidance and advice on a multitude of subjects.
Constable & Robinson continues into the 21st century as a truly independent company.
We publish a varied list of fiction and non-fiction titles as hardbacks, paperbacks and ebooks. Our non-fiction list includes current affairs, history and biography, psychology, self-help and illustrated titles while our fiction includes literary novels and a growing selection of genre fiction from Corsair and Canvas, with a sprinklng of young adult fiction from Much-in-Little.
Among our commercially successful series are the well-known Mammoth paperback anthologies, the bestselling and widely respected Overcoming list of CBT self-help titles, the Brief History and Brief Guide series, and inspirational guidebooks from Right Way and How To Books.
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