Kraken Opus

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Kraken Opus
Status Active
Founded 2005
Founder Karl Fowler
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location United Arab Emirates
Publication types Books
Nonfiction topics Sports teams; celebrities; arts; culture
Official website

Kraken Opus is a publishing company operating from Guernsey in the Channel Islands; London, United Kingdom; and the United Arab Emirates. The company produces premium, outsized editions on subjects including sports teams[1] and celebrities,[2] and on broader topics including the Muslim hajj.[3] The company describes its publications, which are produced in limited editions retailing for up to £1m, as "works of art".[2]

Company history[edit]

The company is owned by Karl Fowler, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker.[4] He founded Kraken Opus following a period managing his own financial services company, for which he built up a client list including a number of sports stars. The interests of these clients inspired him to consider a high-end publication for sports fans;[5] he invested $5 million of his own money and of capital put up by friends and acquaintances to found Kraken Opus.[2] Its first title was the Manchester United Opus, published in 2006: the book weighed 97 lb and each edition in its 10,000 run was priced between £3000 and £4500.[2][5]

In December 2008 the company opened a proprietary shop in Covent Garden.[6] The company entered voluntary administration in June 2009 when a US backer announced that a tranche of $6m in promised funding would not be forthcoming.[7] Days later, following an offer to existing shareholders, Fowler and partner Paul Murphy undertook a management buyout of the company,[8] announcing that a new Arab funder had been found at that the company's headquarters would be moved from London to the United Arab Emirates.[7] At the time the company faced criticism over the delayed publication of the £3000-per-copy Celtic Opus, which was postponed from July 2009, after pre-orders and deposits had been received.[9] The print run was also reduced, but the firm insisted that publication would still go ahead.[10]


Several of the company's publications have attracted press notice, including the Burj Dubai Opus, a 15-foot-tall edition of which was commissioned to stand in the lobby of the building on its opening.[11] A copy of the Manchester United Opus, auctioned for $1.5m to a Middle Eastern consortium with proceeds given to the Dubai Cares charity, was the most expensive sports book ever sold.[2][3] Wine Opus had a print run of only one hundred copies, each priced at AU£1.2m each;[12] while one hundred copies of the forthcoming Diego Maradona Opus are due to ship with samples of Maradona's blood and hair.[7] The Prince Opus was sold, in tandem with a branded iPhone model, for US$2,100.[13] Kraken Opus, in partnership with ticket vendor Ticketmaster, also produced the £109 Michael Jackson Opus, the only book licensed by the Jackson estate in the immediate aftermath of his death.[14]


  1. ^ "Independent Online (South Africa". 5 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Waller, Martin (5 February 2009). "‘This isn’t all about money,’ says publisher whose books command £1m price tags". London: The Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Ghazal, Rym (8 January 2009). "Haj celebrated on film and in print". The National (UAE). 
  4. ^ Watson, Jeremy (23 November 2008). "Weighing in at 81lbs, Celtic tome is a heavy read". Scotsman. 
  5. ^ a b Goodman, Leah Macgrath (17 September 2007). "Showing Some Spine". Portfolio. 
  6. ^ Pagano, Margareta (21 December 2008). "What recession? New bookshop tells a different story". The Independent. 
  7. ^ a b c "New chapter for cash-strapped Kraken Opus". The Australian. 19 June 2009. 
  8. ^ Fresco, Adam (18 June 2009). "The £1 million book is saved as management buys out Kraken Opus". London: The Times. 
  9. ^ Tait, Gordon (18 June 2009). "Firm producing Celtic Opus goes bust". Scottish Sun. 
  10. ^ Williams, Martin (18 June 2009). "Rescued publisher promises 3000 pounds Celtic book will go ahead". The Herald (Scotland). 
  11. ^ Lieberman, Michael (20 October 2008). "Only in Dubai : The Burj Dubai Opus". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  12. ^ Faulkner, Jane (3 August 2009). "Cellar Door". The Age. 
  13. ^ Chen, Brian X (13 April 2009). "Limited-Edition Prince iPod Is Purple Lame". 
  14. ^ Masson, Gordon (14 August 2009). "Ticketmaster enters the book business with Jackson opus". Music Week. 

External links[edit]