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Hodder and Stoughton


Hodder and Stoughton

Hodder & Stoughton
Parent company Hachette UK
Status Active
Founded 1868
Founder Matthew Henry Hodder & Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location London, England
Imprints Hodder & Stoughton, Sceptre, John Murray, Hodder Faith, Mulholland, Coronet, Two Roads, Saltyard
Official website

Hodder & Stoughton is a British publishing house, now an imprint of Hachette.


Early history

The firm has its origins in the 1840s, with Matthew Hodder's employment, aged fourteen, with Messrs Jackson and Walford, the official publisher for the Congregational Union. In 1861 the firm became Jackson, Walford and Hodder; but in 1868 Jackson and Walford retired, and Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton joined the firm, creating Hodder & Stoughton.

Hodder & Stoughton published both religious and secular works, and its religious list contained some progressive titles. These included George Adam Smith's Isaiah for its Expositor’s Bible series, which was one of the earliest texts to identify multiple authorship in the Book of Isaiah. There was also a sympathetic Life of St Francis by Paul Sabatier, a French Protestant pastor. Matthew Hodder made frequent visits to North America, meeting with the Moody Press and making links with Scribners and Fleming H. Revell.

The secular list only gradually accepted fiction, and it was still subject to "moral censorship" in the early part of the twentieth century. Matthew Hodder was doubtful about the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and the company refused Michael Arlen's The Green Hat. In 1922 Hodder and Stoughton published an edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland which was likely very controversial at the time given the fantastical nature of the work.

The 1920s brought an explosion of commercial fiction at keen prices - Hodder's "Yellow jackets" series were the pre-cursors of the first paperbacks, and included bestsellers from John Buchan, Edgar Wallace and Sapper's Bulldog Drummond. In 1928, the company became the exclusive British hardback publisher of Leslie Charteris's adventure novel series, The Saint, publishing all 50 UK first editions of the series until 1983. In this decade they also took over ownership of the medical journal, The Lancet.

Hodder & Stoughton were also the originators of the Teach Yourself line of self-instruction books, which are still published through Hodder Headline's educational division. As the company expanded at home and overseas, Hodder & Stoughton's list swelled to include the real life adventures in Peary's North Pole and several works by Winston Churchill.

During the war, Ralph Hodder Williams set up the Brockhampton Book Co. to sell off overstocks of theological works. The manager, Ernest Roker, had an interest in children's books and managed to persuade author Enid Blyton to write a series of books for them about four children and a dog. In 1942, the Famous Five series was born with Five on a Treasure Island. In 1962, Brockhampton took over the children's writer Elinor Lyon, whose novels the parent company had introduced in 1948.

The post-war years

In a 1953 they published Sir John Hunt's successful The Ascent of Everest. In the 1970s, they brought the Knight and Coronet imprints into common use. The latter is particularly memorable for David Niven's much-celebrated autobiography The Moon's a Balloon.

In the 1960s the Hodder and Stoughton fiction list broadened to include many quality commercial authors, including Mary Stewart whose works included Madam, Will You Talk? and sold millions of copies worldwide. The non-fiction publishing included Anthony Sampson's era-defining The Anatomy of Britain in 1962. Another notable title in the children's sphere was the 1969 Brockhampton Press publication of Asterix the Gaul by Goscinny and Uderzo.

In 1974, John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was published to much critical acclaim, earning him a Literary Guild Choice. The following year, previous employee John Attenborough published A Living Memory of Hodder. In 1981, the company acquired the New English Library, an imprint created by the American Times Mirror Company that published works from several genres including fantasy, science fiction and suspense and included books by James Herbert and Stephen King.

In 1986, Hodder & Stoughton introduced Sceptre as a literary imprint to sit alongside mass-market imprints Coronet and NEL. Originally publishing in paperback only, early books on the Sceptre list included Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark which had won the Booker Prize in 1982. Hodder & Stoughton also won the Booker Prize in 1985 with the publication of Keri Hulme’s The Bone People, originally acquired from its New Zealand office.

Other notable books on the Hodder & Stoughton list in this decade include Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers, Elizabeth George’s A Great Deliverance and the first novel in Jean M. Auel’s prehistoric fiction series Earth’s Children® The Clan of the Cave Bear, which was an international success and the series, completed with the publication of The Land of Painted Caves in 2011, has sold over 45 million copies worldwide.

In 1993, Headline bought Hodder & Stoughton and the company became a division of Hodder Headline Ltd. In 1997 Sceptre published Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and the following year Hodder & Stoughton released Sir Alex Ferguson’s much-lauded autobiography Managing My Life.

In 1999, Hodder Headline was acquired by W H Smith.

The 21st century

In 2002 Hodder Headline Ltd acquired John Murray and two years later Hodder Headline was bought by Hachette Livre, which already owned British publishers Orion and Octopus. When Hachette also acquired Time Warner Book Group (now Little, Brown) it became the UK’s lead publisher. The Hodder & Stoughton fiction list is now home to John Connolly, Jeffery Deaver, John Grisham, Sophie Hannah, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Peter Robinson and Robyn Young. The 2009 publication of David NichollsOne Day heralded another international success. David wrote the screenplay for the 2011 film adaptation, directed by Lone Scherfig and the book has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.

On 7 July 2010 they released Stephen King's Under the Dome with four cover versions.[1]

In 2011 Jeffery Deaver continued the James Bond literary franchise with his 007 novel Carte Blanche.

Non-fiction and imprints

The non-fiction list covers many areas including biography, memoir, sport, humour, health, cookery and lifestyle. Notable publications of recent years include Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook, Michael Parkinson’s Parky, Michael Caine’s The Elephant to Hollywood, Peter Kay’s The Book That’s More Than Just a Book-Book and Lady Gaga’s first official book Gaga in 2011.

Sceptre continues to add to its literary heritage, publishing authors such as Melvyn Bragg, Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand, Jill Dawson, Siri Hustvedt, Thomas Keneally, Andrew Miller and David Mitchell. In 2010 Hodder & Stoughton launched the lifestyle imprint Saltyard and brought Coronet back into use. In 2011, Hodder and Stoughton launched the imprints Two Roads Books and Mulholland Books.

Hodder Faith is the UK’s leading Christian publisher, home to authors Philip Yancey, Joyce Meyer and RT Kendell amongst others. They continue to publish the NIV Bible in its various formats and to break new ground with books like Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack (2008).


In 2011 Hodder launched a wholly new print format for books, the flipback. Printed on Bible paper, and designed to replicate the traditional print reading experience in an edition not much bigger than an iPhone.


Notable publications

See also

Children's literature portal
  • List of largest UK book publishers


Further reading

  • Attenborough, John (1975) A Living Memory: Hodder and Stoughton 1868-1975, London: Hodder and Stoughton
  • Bennett, Bryan & Hamilton, Anthony (1990) Edward Arnold: 100 Years of Publishing. Illustrated with black and white plates, including a frontispiece of Edward Arnold London: Edward Arnold (A Division of Hodder & Stoughton) ISBN 0-340-54109-1

External links

  • Flipback Books Website
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