'Bittersweet moment' for The Bookseller owner as trade title sold to publisher of The Stage

The Bookseller

Book trade title The Bookseller has been bought out by the publisher of theatre trade title The Stage for an undisclosed amount.

Talks began last year between the two independent companies, with the deal taking effect from today.

The 162-year-old Bookseller is now part of The Stage Media Company, a family business which has been owned and managed by the Comerford family since The Stage’s launch in 1880.

It had been owned by Bookseller Media, run by chief executive Nigel Roby who acquired the title from Nielsen in 2010, who in turn had bought it from the Whitaker family in 1999 (as VNU Business Media).

Under Roby, the business relaunched The British Book Awards.

“This is a bittersweet moment,” said Roby, who will not continue in his role.

“Owning and running The Bookseller has been the greatest privilege of my working life. My overriding desire over the years has been to adapt and galvanise The Bookseller so it can continue its position at the heart of the book trade.

“To know that The Bookseller and the brilliant team behind it can go forward with confidence is profoundly heartening. I have put all of my care and energy into The Bookseller so leaving was never going to be easy. And it isn’t!”

Both The Bookseller and the Stage will continue to be run independently, with senior executives from both reporting to Hugh Comerford.

Comerford said: “The Bookseller and the Stage occupy very similar positions in two of our most important sectors.

“Bringing the two businesses together will make both of them stronger and give both companies a far better chance of enduring and thriving in the current, challenging environment than they would have done alone.

“Nigel has passed on The Bookseller and all its operations in robust good health and I am looking forward to building on his work.”

From the autumn, The Bookseller will relocate to the Stage’s office in Bermondsey Street, London.

The Bookseller’s editor, Philip Jones, and director of publisher relations Emma Lowe will join the executive management team at The Stage Media Company.

The Bookseller publishes weekly in print and has a metered paywall online.

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