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Why publishers launch new imprints

6 March 2006

'The most important quality now in books is distinctiveness. That's why publishers are capitalising on their different imprints, and why I am setting up Fig Tree later this month, Penguin's first new hardback imprint for 20 years. I am not kidding myself that any book buyer will ever recognise the name: when Penguin - owner of such venerable imprints as Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Allen Lane, Viking - did some research a few years ago, we found that none of our hardcover imprints were recognised by bookbuyers, even though everyone knew and loved the paperback imprint Penguin. No, the hardcover imprints work as signposts for people within the world of publishing - they direct authors and agents as to who is buying what and where a book will fit, they point literary editors as to which books to review; and occasionally they help booksellers. And it helps that in a world dominated by prizes with strict submission rules, more imprints means you can submit more books.'

Juliet Annan of Penguin explaining the strategy behind her start-up imprint Fig Tree in the Daily Telegraph