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Meet the Member: Lund Humphries
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Posted by IPG

1 What's your company called?

Lund Humphries.

2 What do you publish?

We publish illustrated books on the visual arts: fine art, art business, architecture and design.

3 What's the story of the company?

Lund Humphries started life in 1895 as a Yorkshire printing firm known for typographic innovation. In 1904, Lund Humphries installed one of the first monotype machines and became early specialists in the half-tone.
We date our art book publishing to 1939 and the publication of Frank Lloyd Wright’s seminal book An Organic Architecture. During the mid-20th century, some ground-breaking publications on British modernist artists cemented our reputation as a publisher of quality, with landmark illustrated monographs on Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. By the 1980s we were leading the way in exhibition catalogue publishing.
In 1999 we became part of the Ashgate Group, where we stayed until Ashgate’s sale to Taylor & Francis in 2015. Since then we have been happily independent again, and have moved to publish more books outside our traditional focus on 20th century British modernism. We came full circle earlier this year when we relaunched our architecture list with a new edition of An Organic Architecture.

4 How's business?

It’s good, and growing into new areas, both in terms of our publishing and geographically. But it’s hard work!

5 What do you enjoy about being independent?

We can make decisions quickly and based on the expertise of our in-house team. Being able to fit the entire company round a (large) table means you can be truly inclusive.

6 What do you think is the biggest single issue in publishing right now?

The dominance of wholesalers and online retailers. As a smaller publisher you can’t always negotiate, so terms can be very tough. We need the support of physical bookshops and specialist sellers, and want to support them in return.

7 What one piece of advice would you give to a fellow independent just starting out?

Specialise. Know your customers and your product and why it is different from everything else out there. There is a lot of competition.

8 What do you get out of belonging to the IPG?

Camaraderie, knowing there are people and resources to turn to for advice and a feeling of a safety net. And the parties at the London and Frankfurt book fairs are very welcome!

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