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Bringing Faber into the 21st Century

the Guardian’s Jane Martinson profiles Stephen Page, chief executive of the venerable independent publishing house Faber & Faber. The former sales & marketing director for various trade publishers like HarperCollins and Transworld is credited with bringing the “house that TS Eliot built” into the modern age with good reason, changing the packaging of the books for the first time in 20 years, a cause of much harrumphing in the shelving, as well as announcing a move into fast-selling general non-fiction and children’s stories at a company renowned for its drama and poetry. But Page believes any sense of surprise is based on misunderstanding commercial concerns.

He’s also skeptical about where technology fits with the book industry. “I am yet to be convinced that the technology is available to replace books. They are flexible, affordable, beautiful, lovable and seductive.” Yet he recognizes that the industry is still trying to find its way through a fast-changing world. “How do we make money online? We’re all trying to work that out.” But what he won’t have to work out is his own future plans, no matter how tempting the offers may be at other houses. “Faber suits me personally. It’s very satisfying, nourishing even. It’s like breathing.”

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