The Book People

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The Book People
Book sales
FateAdministration (17 December 2019)
Founded26 August 1988; 31 years ago (1988-08-26)
FoundersTed and Nicola Smart
Area served
United Kingdom and Ireland
Key people
Claire Bayliss (CEO)
Sarah Walden (COO)
Ajay Patel (CFO)
OwnerEndless LLP Edit this on Wikidata

The Book People Ltd. was a bookseller based in Godalming, Surrey, UK. Founded in 1988, The Book People sold a value-led curated range of books, gifts, toys and stationery through its website, catalogue, and pop-up events in schools and businesses around the country.


The Book People started business in 1988 with one van, visiting offices in the Guildford, Surrey area, where the company found its first customers. By 1990, there were 140 Book People Local distributors around the country visiting workplaces such as bakeries, banks, schools and hospitals.[1]

As demand for their books grew, The Book People launched their mail-order catalogue. This was shortly followed by their online store in 1998.

Having initially operated solely from a base in Godalming, Surrey, the company went through a period of rapid expansion by opening offices in Haydock, Merseyside and a customer service centre and warehouse in Bangor, Wales in 2002. As of February 2016, the company employed over 600 staff.[2]

In September 2014, Endless LLP, a UK-based equity investor, supported a management buy-out of The Book People.

On 17 December, 2019, the BBC reported that The Book People had gone into administration. [3] It was reported that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been appointed as the administrator while owner Endless LLP looked for a buyer. The business will continue to trade and there are no plans to make any of the 393 employees redundant, PwC said.

However, the Bookseller reported that British indie publisher Galley Beggar Press - who had one of the 2019 shortlisted Booker Prize novels - is owed £40,000 from The Book People as a result of a special Booker Prize version of 'Ducks, Newburyport' produced for them. Galley Beggar set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to save the company.

The Book People stopped trading online on 30th March 2020.

Business model[edit]

The Book People orders and stocks titles in bulk direct from publishers and suppliers, forgoing the right of return.[4]

The Book People also stocks discounted books, gifts, toys and stationery.

Awards and initiatives[edit]

Upon opening the new warehouse and customer service centre in Bangor in 2002, The Book People was praised for creating 180 new jobs, as well as 250 temporary/seasonal roles in North West Wales and received a grant from the Welsh Government to help fund the state-of-the-art facility.[5]

In 2007, The Book People's contribution to bookselling was recognised as they won the Direct to Consumer Bookselling Company of the Year Award at the Bookseller Retail Awards. Founder Ted Smart was also honoured with the Random House Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Bookselling.[6]

The Book People previously hosted online bookshops for Channel 4’s TV Book Club, CITV’s Bookaboo, and the Big Book Babble programme in conjunction with Scholastic.[7] From 2008 until 2014, The Book People operated and hosted the Queen of Teen award, which biannually honoured authors of teen fiction.

Queen of Teen award winners[edit]


  1. ^ About Us by Book People, 2016.
  2. ^ "Failure Page". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  3. ^ "The Book People goes into administration". 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  4. ^ Book People Promise by Book People, 2016.
  5. ^ "> Business > Book People to create 180 jobs in North Wales". News Wales. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  6. ^ Blackwell takes awards crown by Graeme Neill,, 21 September 2007. Archived at Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Big Book Babble". Big Book Babble. 2013-01-22. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
  8. ^ "Queen of Teen". Queen of Teen. 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)