History of the Random House Imprints.


Random House UK is a subsidiary of Random House Inc, which has been owned by the international media company, Bertelsmann since March 1998.



Jonathan Cape

Beginning in 1921 Herbert Jonathan Cape set up a publishing house with George Wren Howard, forever known as Bob because he disliked his Christian name, to become one of the leading literary publishers of the twentieth century. Among Jonathan’s many acquisitions were T.E. Lawrence and Ernest Hemingway.


Chatto & Windus

The publishing company founded in 1855 by John Camden Hotten, which published under his name, was the precursor to the respected house of Chatto & Windus. On Hotten’s untimely death in 1874, the company was purchased from Hotten’s widow by Andrew Chatto and W. E. Windus for £25,000 and the company renamed to Chatto & Windus. The company publishes respected poetry and much literary fiction including Iris Murdoch and A.S. Byatt.


Hogarth Press

Beginning life in the dining room of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s home in Richmond, this important milestone of publishing history concentrated on publishing distinctive well-made books and pamphlets. From its first publication in 1917 the Press published the stars of the Bloomsbury Set and created a whole new dimension to publishing history with their unorthodox lifestyles.


Yellow Jersey

Starting in 1998, this imprint of Random House concentrated on the area of sporting books and has achieved great success with at least seven prize-winning books already to its credit.


Secker & Warburg

Started by the cousin of the banking Warburgs, Fredric Warburg bought out the publishing business of Martin Secker in 1936 for £3,100 to create Martin Secker & Warburg Limited. Fred created a select list with strong political connotations, being the publisher of George Orwell and later branching into the translation of leading foreign authors, notably Thomas Mann from Germany and spearheading publications from Japan with Junichiro Tanizaki and Yukio Mishima. Random House bought the imprint from Reed Elsevier in February 1997. Fredric died in 1981.


The Harvill Press

Started in 1946 by Mrs Manya Harari and Mrs Marjorie Villiers, this company concentrated on encouraging the English translation of foreign authors culminating in the publication of Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. The Harvill Press was later owned by William Collins & Sons Ltd. before becoming independent again in 1995 and then coming into the Random House fold in March 2002.



Pimlico was launched in August 1991 and, amongst other reasons, was named after the location of Random House’s offices in London. They specialise in history, biography and literature and have currently published around 700 titles. Pimlico now publishes in the arts and music subject areas and republishes books that were original titles with other Random House Group imprints.



Vintage was founded in 1989 as the literary paperback house for Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus and The Bodley Head. Its first publication was Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry in 1990 which became an instant bestseller and is still in print.


Bodley Head

First publishing under his own name, John Lane went into partnership with bookseller Charles Elkin Matthews in 1887. When the partnership broke up in 1894, Lane continued in publishing using the imprint of The Bodley Head. He uncovered new talent among authors, poets and illustrators and became the publisher of the shocking Aubrey Beardsley. Under Bodley Head, Allen Lane brought out the first ten Penguin titles in 1935 priced at 6d each.  Some of the newer literary lions include Graham Greene and Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the later novels of Georgette Heyer.

The imprint re-emerged in March 2008 with the book “Great Hatred, Little Room : Making Peace in Northern Ireland” by Jonathan Powell.



Launching in October 1992, this publishing imprint run and named after well-known literary figure Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, was subsumed in to the Random House Group in February 1997 with the purchase of the Reed Consumer Trade Division.


Cornerstone (previously known as CHA)

CHA renamed as Cornerstone Publishing on 26th September 2008.


Blond & Briggs

Blond & Briggs came from Anthony Blond Ltd. (Anthony Blond 1928 – 2008) and Desmond Briggs based at 56 Doughty Street, London. In 1979 Briggs retired. HTV (television company) bought Muller (Frederick Muller Ltd.) and Blond & Briggs retaining Anthony Blond as publishing adviser. Blond then did a management buy-out in 1982 and formed Muller, Blond & Briggs. Century Hutchinson absorbed the company in 1987.



Founded in 1982, Century became a publishing house for leading commercial fiction and non-fiction. In 1985 the company acquired Hutchinson which consolidated their list of major authors – from Maeve Binchy to John Grisham.




Founded by George Hutchinson in 1887, this small publishing house was one of the first to recognise the market for cheap editions. George was knighted in recognition of his work for the book trade. His son Walter took over the business and expanded it rapidly by acquiring many smaller imprints including Dennis Archer, Andrew Melrose, Selwyn & Blount, Hammond & Hammond, Hurst & Blackett – publisher of Mein Kampf, Herbert Jenkins – publisher of P.G. Wodehouse, and Popular Dogs. The main offices were decimated in the Blitz, on 29th December 1940 and all stock and most records were lost.

Walter Hutchinson took his own life on 30th April 1950.


William Heinemann

Another respected publishing house established in 1890 by William Heinemann who began his company with £500 and paid £300 for his first book – The Bondman by Hall Caine. Fortunately this triple-decker from Caine funded his publishing programme for many years to come. Heinemann progressed through educational publishing, foreign translations and children’s books to become a well-known publisher with the windmill colophon, designed by major artist, William Nicholson.

The Heinemann Group, up to 1995, comprised William Heinemann Ltd. (trade publishing), Heinemann Young Books (children’s publishing), Heinemann Medical and Heinemann Educational Books Limited (the educational arm). The owner by then was Reed Elsevier having variously been Octopus, Reed International Books, Reed Consumer Books and then Reed Elsevier.

In 1995, Reed Elsevier decided to divest itself of the Consumer publishing which included William Heinemann and Heinemann Young Books. Everything scientific, technical, medical and educational they kept and it operated from Halley Court in Oxford. William Heinemann, along with Methuen, Secker & Warburg, Sinclair-Stevenson, Mandarin, Minerva and Cedar were all bought by Random House in February 1997.

Heinemann Young Books were sold to Egmont as part of the Reed children’s publishing imprints along with Methuen Children’s Books, Hamlyn Children’s Books and Mammoth.

Since then Heinemann Educational has been bought by Harcourt to become Harcourt Educational Books


Arrow Books

The paperback imprint for Hutchinson Publishing Limited, which was founded in 1953 and was brought into the group with Century’s acquisition of Hutchinson. It is one the oldest paperback publishers (Penguin was founded in 1935).



Random House Business Books

Business Books came into the Hutchinson group via Barrie & Jenkins in 1979. It became Hutchinson Business Books and then eventually Random House Business Books after Random House bought Century Hutchinson Limited in 1989.



Methuen & Co, Ltd. was founded by Algernon Methuen Marshall Steadman, a teacher and headmaster, in 1889. He believed in books that were helpful and published mostly non-fiction academic works in the early years branching out to encourage female authors and later translated works. Methuen was subsumed into the Random House Group on the purchase of the Reed Consumer list in 1997.

Methuen Drama bought itself out from Random House in 1998 and moved into their own offices on Vauxhall Bridge Road as Methuen Publishing Limited on 4th January 1999. Methuen then moved to Buckingham Gate on 13th June 2005 and has since moved to Artillery Row. Subsequently Methuen Publishing has sold on its drama list to Bloomsbury in May 2006.


Random House Children’s Books


Bodley Head

Jonathan Cape


David Fickling Books

Red Fox



The Random House Children’s Books list has been culled from the past histories of the original publishers Jonathan Cape, The Bodley Head, Hutchinson and Doubleday. David Fickling Books joined the Random House Group in 2002 and publishes prize-winning picture books and junior fiction. The paperback lines of Red Fox and Corgi bring the hardback titles to a new audience of children.



Ebury Press

Ebury Press started in 1961 as the book division of The National Magazine Company where it published many tie-in titles with Good Housekeeping and others magazines from the National Magazine Company’s stables. It was named after the street in London where it started, Ebury Street. It came into the Century Hutchinson Group in May 1989. It specialises in cookery and lifestyle books with a widening brief into general non-fiction.



Established in the early 1990s as the paperback arm of Ebury Press, this imprint quickly became defined by its subject areas of health, fitness, personal development and parenting.



Established around 1700, Rider is one of the oldest imprints in the group still publishing. It specialises in the occult, Eastern religions and philosophy.


Barrie & Jenkins

An amalgamation of companies deriving its name from Barrie & Rockliff and Herbert Jenkins. Rockliff majored on theatre books and Herbert Jenkins on popular fiction. Barrie & Jenkins went on to make a name for itself as a publisher for ceramics, pottery and antiques books. It came into the Random House Group through the acquisition of Hutchinson in 1985.


C. W. Daniel

Founded in 1902. The company was named after founder Charles William Daniel. Daniel was a pacifist and vegetarian and his company propagated the ideas of natural health which is today recognised as a growth area of publishing. The company passed into the hands of Ian and Jane Miller in 1973 who sold it on to Random House in 2004 to expand the mind, body, spirit publishing of the Ebury Division.


Time Out

In May 2004 a partnership deal was signed that brought the Time Out guides into the Random House fold. These guides cover all areas of the world and Random House will help grow the imprint into a major player in the travel field.



An imprint originally owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group which formed a partnership with Random House on 5th March 2007 to expand their publishing business on to a global platform. The deal included the imprint of W.H. Allen into the company.



An independent imprint financed by Random House, and set up by Trevor Dolby and Rosie de Courcy. The first book “The Cleaner” by Brett Battles, published on 6th March 2008.


Square Peg – Founded by Rosemary Davidson within Random House. The imprint published its first title on 28th August 2008 Homework for grown-ups : Everything you learned at school... and promptly forgot” written by two Random House editors, Elizabeth Foley  and Beth Coates.




Bantam Press

Publisher of best-selling fiction author Danielle Steel and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Bantam is a U.S. company now owned by Bertelsmann.


Bantam Books

A U.S. company established in 1945 which was purchased by Bertelsmann in 1977. Thus when Bertelsmann bought Random House Inc. in 1998, the company came under the umbrella of Random House.



An American company which dabbled in publishing in U.K. by notably becoming, for a short period between the wars, the owner of William Heinemann Ltd. in 1922. Doubleday specialises in popular fiction especially the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett.


Black Swan

Black Swan began publishing in 1983 and presented a B Format option for paperbacks at Transworld.



Owned by Bantam Books, Corgi was originally one of the increasingly popular publishers of popular fiction during the 1980s which picked up the paperback editions of famous authors notably people like Frederick Forsyth, Catherine Cookson and, author of westerns, J.T. Edson.