Ian Fleming's James Bond novels will switch to a different publisher this year with plans to release print and e-book editions this summer...

Bond's New Publisher

16th March 2012

Out with the new, in with the old. The classic James Bond novels are heading back to the same publishing organisation that first released 007's literary adventures as the contract with Penguin expires.

Ian Fleming Publications have officially confirmed a deal struck with Random House that will see Fleming's novels republished this summer as the film series celebrates its 50th anniversary. Under the Vintage Books imprint, which is a sister to the original Jonathan Cape imprint (both owned by Random House), the deal includes print and e-book rights for the original fourteen Bond novels and Fleming’s two non-fiction titles for the next 10 years in all English-language markets except the USA and Canada. The hand-over from Penguin takes place this April.

Corinne Turner, Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd said: "We are delighted to be reuniting James Bond with his original publisher. This new deal, incorporating both print and ebook formats, represents a significant step-change for Ian Fleming and his work."

Richard Cable, Managing Director, Vintage Publishing, commented: "Ian Fleming’s famous Secret Service agent 007 remains one of the most iconic of all literary creations, and continues to thrill new and existing readers alike. We are excited to welcome Ian Fleming’s books to the Vintage list for the first time and to reunite him with Jonathan Cape, the original publisher of his work. We are hugely looking forward to working with IFPL to relaunch the list in 2012, a year which marks the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film, Dr No, and sees a new 007 adventure hit the big screen."

Above: James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

Two series styles will be created for the fourteen books: one under the Vintage paperback imprint and one in Vintage Classics. This is the first time that an author’s entire fiction backlist has been published under both imprints. The press release added that the "publishing programme will be underpinned by consumer insight to bring a new generation of readers to Ian Fleming’s work and engage people who have recently discovered the Bond brand through the films and computer games," alluding to plans to attract a younger audience to the back-catalog.

As MI6 reported last year, the existing licence with Penguin looked unlikely to be renewed due to the disagreement over e-book rights, which were not included in the original deal struck by the popular publisher. Ian Fleming Publications released the novels as e-books independently. According to reports in 2010, the Bond licence is worth £3m a year to IFP, but the backlist only sells approximately 100,000 paper copies a year in the UK and USA combined, making it an expensive prospect for any publisher. Approximately 10% of the Bond book market in the US was electronic in 2010, a share which is certainly much higher today. Random House will have to market the books aggressively, make hay with the e-book rights, and capture new audiences if they are to recoup their licencing costs.

The last set of Ian Fleming novels published in the UK were the centenary editions with covers by Michael Gillette, released in hardback in 2008 and paperback in 2010.

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