4 out of 5 stars
As an independent publisher, Robson Books always punched way above their weight they seemed to be able to attract the most desirable authors and secure the best deals in the business. A lot of that was because of the driving force behind it, Jeremy Robson. But it almost never happened, he began in the law but after realising that he couldn’t bear it, ended up ill for three weeks before getting a lucky break to begin working for a publisher.
This lucky break into publishing was the beginning of a captivating fifty years in the world of books. He was fortunate to be supported by a friend, to start his own independent publishing house. When the property market faltered his father in law stepped in to keep the business going. It was there that he brought stars from screen and radio to the written page, people like Maureen Lipman and Alan Coren, Michael Winner and the Goons as well as international superstars like Mohammed Ali. H Robson Books even had positions one and two with books by Michael Caine and Mike Harding in the bestseller list in the runup to Christmas, the only change was when they swapped places.
This is a highly entertaining book about life as an independent publisher, full of life, laughter, people and most importantly books. As you’d expect, it is very readable too, full of the scrapes and near misses as well as the moments of success and the joy that the written word has brought to countless people who bought the books that they published. As well as the work, Robson brings in his own personal life too, with anecdotes that will make you smile when reading them. What it was like growing up in a wider Jewish community, his own family from grandparents to grandchildren and how it has bout great richness to his life. Well worth reading for an insider view of the publishing world.