Chronicle Books: A History and Top 5s

Longtime competitors in the US market, Chronicle Books, and New York–based publisher Abrams teamed up in 2010 to expand sales in the United Kingdom and Europe. The idea was to pool resources in order to better penetrate the illustrated book market in Europe and beyond, with English-language titles, particularly in key categories such as lifestyle, art, design, children’s, and cookbooks.

Jack Jensen told the story of this unusual move: “We had targeted English-speaking Europe as an opportunity to grow. Michael Jacobs, CEO at Abrams—a personal friend going back to the early days when we shared an apartment in North Beach here in San Francisco—said they already had an office in London. We realized that by joining forces, and perhaps targeting other illustrated book publishers to represent, we could offer a breadth of titles that would make us a real force in both the UK and Europe. Our lists complemented each other and gave us strength in numbers. Competitors became co-conspirators.”

The alliance drove tremendous growth. In just five years, UK and European revenues tripled. Thanks to dedicated sales, marketing, and publicity staff in the London office, Chronicle Books was able to significantly raise the profile of its publishing in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Europe and the Middle East. Abrams & Chronicle Books also distribute a number of other illustrated book publishers, among them Princeton Architectural Press, Galison/Mudpuppy, Knock Knock, British graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero, Australia’s Smith Street Books and V&A Publishing.

“It’s a real stake in the ground for us in the UK and Europe,” said Tyrrell Mahoney, President of Chronicle Books. “It’s been incredible. Our partnership grew out of great admiration and trust between our two companies, and the ambition we both have to build our business outside the US. We work very well together as two separate companies who both value integrity and are passionate about similar goals.”

Top 5 non-fiction:

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World by Matt Lamothe (May 2017, £11.99, 9781452150185)

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Feb 2014, £10.99, 9781452103143)

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky (paperback Mar 2016, £5.99, 9781452152110)

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris (Oct 2017, £14.99, 9781452162812)

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Sep 2015, £11.99, 9781452118901)

Top 5 picture books:

Press Here by Herve Tullet (Apr 2011, £9.99, 9780811879545) his next book, Say Zoop! (Aug 2017, £10.99, 9781452164731).

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel (Aug 2016, £10.99, 9781452150130)

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt (May 2015, £10.99, 9781452125329)

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Apr 2011, £11.99, 9780811877824)

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Aug 2015, £10.99, 9781452131566)

Top 5 board/baby books:

Cozy Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Jack Wang and Holman Wang (Mar 2016, £6.99, 9781452152448)

TouchThinkLearn: ABC by Xavier Deneux (Sep 2016, £14.99, 9781452145037)

Baby Bunny: Finger Puppet Book by Yu-Hsuan Huang (Feb 2017, £4.99, 9781452156095)

My Little Cities: London by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli (Apr 2017, £6.99, 9781452153872)

My Dreams: Baby Basics by Xavier Deneux (Twirl, Aug 2016, £8.99, 9791027601912)

Top 5 series:

Flora and the Flamingo (2013), Flora and the Penguin (2014), Flora and the Peacocks (2016), Flora and the Chicks (2017), Flora and the Ostrich (2017) by Molly Idle 

642 Things to Draw (2010), 642 Things to Write About (2012), 642 Things to Write About: Young Writers’ Edition (2014), 642 Things to Draw: Young Artist’s Edition (2016), 642 Things About Me: Young Writer’s and Artist’s Edition (2017), 642 Awesome Things to Draw: Young Artist’s Edition (2017)

Ivy and Bean: Books 1 – 10 by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2007 – 2014)

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . (2014), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School… (2015), The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer . . . (2016), A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum . . . (2017) by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud

The Art of Disney (2003 – 2017)

With thanks to Jessica Chambers at Abrams and Chronicle. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG. 

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