The only independent book publisher in Birmingham has been sold to a rival London company.
Four jobs will be lost at Tindal Street Press after the Custard Factory-based publisher was taken over by Profile Books, which also owns publisher Serpent’s Tail.
The prize-winning independent publisher was formed in Birmingham in 1998 and punched above its weight with dozens of nominations for national awards.
Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall – shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2003 – was Tindal Street’s bestselling title and has been translated into 12 languages worldwide.
Among Profile’s best sellers is Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.
Alan Mahar, publishing director at Tindal Street, said: “Profile are an independent publisher and part of The Independent Alliance which we were part of, so they were a natural fit. They’ve got a similar ethos to us.
“It is a good outcome for our list and imprint. Our books planned for next year will be published by Serpent’s Tail but the Tindal Street name will live on and the books will live on.
“Tindal Street has built a reputation for quality literary fiction.
“The book trade has experienced a lot of changes in the last two years. Bookshops closed, Waterstones changed hands, Amazon has a monopoly and the move to ebooks.
“We had a number of bestsellers on Kindle last year. But the market has changed even since then. Fifty Shades of Grey has dominated the market.”
Publishing giant Penguin and Fifty Shades of Grey publisher Randon House also unveiled a merger deal this week.
The new company, Penguin Random House will hold a 25 per cent market share for book sales in the English language and generate annual revenues of about £2.5 billion.
The deal, which is not expected to be complete until the second half of next year, needs clearance from the competition commission.
Mr Mahar added: “Birmingham has not really been a city that has attracted publishers. Publishing is dominated by London and 99 per cent of businesses will be based in London.
“We’ve had a reputation of having done so well outside of London.
“Birmingham City Council did support us for a while but we haven’t had funding for at least two years. But we’ve had support from Arts Council England in the West Midlands continuously.
“The arts funding in the last couple of years has been reduced because of the change in government. Its been difficult for arts organisations because of those swingeing cuts and those pressures will have made it more difficult for arts organisations like ourselves to continue to thrive.”
Among other high profile successes for Tindal Street were What Was Lost, by Catherine O’Flynn, which won the Costa First Book Award in 2007 and Beauty, by Raphael Selbourn, which won the same prize in 2009.
The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003 and Bring Me The Head of Ryan Giggs by Rodge Glass won the Somerset Maughan Award for Non-Fiction in 2009.
Mr Mahar added: “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved during Tindal Street Press’s 14 years.
“We found new English writers and published them with conviction and flair, earning prize-listings for the Man Booker, Orange and Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, a British Book Award and two Costa Prize winners.
“We built the Tindal Street name outside of London, with a tiny dedicated and talented publishing team and a voluntary board.
“We had a close connection with our authors, an independent ethos and a vision for our English regional list.
“It is genuinely a great comfort that Profile and Serpent’s Tail will be continuing our list and legacy in this takeover.”