The Biblio File Hosted by Nigel Beale
Twenty - forty minute interviews with accomplished authors, publishers, biblio people, conducted by an excitable bibliophile.


Richard Charkin began his career in 1972 as Science Editor of Harrap & Co. He has since held many senior positions in the publishing world with companies such as Pergamon Press, Oxford University Press, Reed International/Reed Elsevier, and Current Science Group. At Macmillan Publishers Limited he served as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck. He was also Chairman of Macmillan India Ltd.

In 2007 he was appointed Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.  with responsibility for operations worldwide, and focus on spearheading growth through acquisitions, new publishing areas and international expansion. He's also a damned fine blogger, and a captivating raconteur.

I met Richard recently at his home in London. We talked in his garden - in competition with the occasional helicopter and airplane - about what he considers to be the biggest challenges facing book publishing, and those publishers who he thinks have best met them.

Please listen here:

Direct download: Richard_Charkin2.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

John Randle at Gregynog

Born in the mind of John Randle at the age of 14 when he first entered his school's press room, the Whittington Press started life in a disused gardener’s cottage in 1971.

The Whittington Press

 Its first book, Richard Kennedy’s A Boy at the Hogarth Press, was printed on weekends during 1971-1972 on an 1848 Columbian.

Matrix -  the Randle’s revered annual publication on fine press printing - started out as a planned slim volume of some thirty two pages saddle stitched into stiff covers; the objective was for it to serve as “ a means of seeing in print a few short pieces which would not in themselves justify the production of individual titles, but which together might make a worthwhile publication.” Matrix 1 grew to seventy two pages, and had to be square backed.  

The Whittington Press

With it the Randle’s created an environment in which “author, artist and printer, punchcutter and typecaster “can work separately and together to both nurture and explore each others’skills. The revered annual provides an important platform for typographical dialog among and between fine press aficionados on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

I met John Randle recently in his repurposed gardener’s cottage to talk about his Press, his calling, and his thoughts about the practice of fine press printing.  Please listen to our conversation here:

Direct download: john_randle_edit_801018_01.mp3
Category:Publisher's Histories -- posted at: 8:59pm EDT

Gordon Graham

W. Gordon Graham was born ninety some years ago in Scotland. He attended university in Glasgow and after graduation enlisted in the army; he was awarded the Military Cross and Bar for active service in Burma. He started his postwar career as a freelance newspaper correspondent in Bombay writing for, among other publications: Business Week,  Chemical Engineering Record, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Glasgow Herald. In 1950 he started augmenting his journalist’s income with part-time work as a College and Trade Traveller for the McGraw-Hill Book Company. Six years later he was appointed their International Sales Manager, based in New York. He subsequently moved to London to run McGraw-Hill’s  European and the Middle Eastern book business. In 1974 he left the company to become Chairman and Chief Executive of Butterworths, where he oversaw a  tenfold increase in turn over.

He ‘retired’ in 1990, at which time he became the founder-editor of LOGOS, The Professional Journal of the Book World.I recently had the privilege of interviewing Gordon Graham at his home in England. Among other things we spoke about his legendary career, and those qualities he thinks best characterize great publishers. Please listen here:

Direct download: Gordon_Graham_Edit__801016_01.mp3
Category:Book Publishers -- posted at: 11:12am EDT