The future of Matthew James Publishing — An Update from James & Anthony

Hi everyone,

You may have noticed that we’ve been unusually silent over the past few weeks. If you’ve followed us for a while you’ll know that at Matthew James Publishing we pride ourselves on being as transparent as possible in an otherwise opaque industry — often being as vocal about our defeats as we are about our victories. Therefore, we thought it would be best to write the whole story down and let you all know what’s been going on.

In mid-January, Matthew James Publishing came close to closing our doors for good. This devastating realisation came out of the blue; the rug pulled from under us on an otherwise uneventful Wednesday afternoon. Naturally, we entered panic mode but, with the help of friends and loved ones, we quickly set about informing authors, illustrators, and anyone else we were working with of the bad news. We won’t go into too much detail, but rising costs and the current financial climate, along with some changes in our funding, meant that shutting down as quickly and cleanly as possible was in the best interests of ourselves and everyone connected with our little publishing house. 

We grieved for the loss of the publishing company that the two of us had poured our lives into for the best part of a decade. We reflected just how many times we had ridden our luck — often running before we could walk and somehow managing to navigate the pandemic — but finally, our luck had run out. Or so we thought.

Andrews UK is a company we worked with on a handful of projects many years ago, and today we’re very pleased to say that we’ll be working with them much more closely going forward. What started as yet another email tying up one of many loose ends soon turned into a proper conversation about the future of our business. The result of that conversation is an acquisition that will bring Matthew James Publishing into the Andrews UK fold. This is a move that will allow us to not only continue what we have started but grow our business in ways we had previously thought impossible for two guys working out of a freezing cold mill in Stockport.

“This company has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. After all, it’s the family business. The idea of it ending so abruptly felt like a death in the family,” says Matthew James Publishing Managing Director James Shaw. “We’ve worked so hard to get where we are, and we’re so grateful that Paul and the team at Andrews UK saw the potential of what we’ve been trying to achieve for almost a decade. We’re excited to see where this new chapter takes us”.

To all of the amazing authors, illustrators, agents and other creatives that have been patient with us whilst we worked this out — thank you. The outpouring of love and support we’ve received throughout this tumultuous period was, at times, overwhelming and really helped to put things into perspective. We couldn’t be more grateful to all those who were thinking of us. Knowing that we will be able to continue our work with all of these brilliantly talented people (and more!) with the support of the team at Andrews UK is something we couldn’t have imagined just a few short weeks ago. For that, we can’t thank Paul and the Andrews UK team enough.

We’re really looking forward to getting to know the AUK team and, whilst there will undoubtedly be some changes happening in the coming months, both of us will be here to shepherd Matthew James Publishing going forward. We couldn’t be more grateful to Paul and the team at Andrews UK for giving us the opportunity to continue to champion new authors and illustrators, celebrate working-class voices, and represent the North West of England as a publisher on the national stage.

“We are so pleased to have been able to bring MJP and its various imprints into the growing AUK family. In 2022 another family publishing business Arthur H Stockwell Ltd (which itself is now celebrating its 125th anniversary) joined us and is now starting to flourish by being able to lean upon the wider AUK team and resources we can offer. 2023 is shaping up to be yet again a very exciting year as James and Anthony start to work as part of our expanding work family. They will be joining not only the book publishing team, but also the new AUK audio creation, and game development companies which are also starting to expand as we look to a future of cross-platform media publishing.”

Andrews UK has been a leader in digital publishing and distribution for over twenty-two years. Based in Luton, AUK has a rich history in the publishing world and we’re happy that the future of Matthew James Publishing and our projects will be secured under their stewardship. As a (mostly) two-person operation, we’ve always done our best to push ourselves and make every project we’ve worked on the best it can be. However, to have the support of a larger team is something we’ve always longed for. As such, we’re excited to bring our almost two decades of combined experience to the table as we work alongside the AUK team to bring even more projects to life in the coming years.

Thank you all for sticking by us. Here’s to the future!

James & Ant — Matthew James Publishing

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