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Search Press

Search Press specialist art and craft booksellers

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The Story of Search Press




The History of Search Press

Search Press is known world-wide for its inspirational practical art and craft book list covering a huge range of subjects and techniques. Family owned, independent, with a complete knowledge of the markets it publishes for and a turnover running into several million, it is hard to believe that this company was founded fifty years ago by Charlotte de la Bedoyere with a budget of only two hundred pounds.

Charlotte, known to us all at Search Press as ‘Lotti’, had the vision and drive to set up a business when her husband Michael retired from writing and producing his religious newsletter ‘Search’. She recalls ‘It seemed right to call my new business Search Press. I asked my friend Chris Boyle to help and we started off by publishing an English translation of a German book, Basket Weaving. We worked from an attic room in Kensington, doing all the editing, administration and book layouts ourselves.’ It was 1970.

Basket Weaving was to be the first of many successful books. Lotti had an astute understanding of what her audience wanted: affordable, inspirational books packed with practical information, aimed at teaching new skills and offering fresh challenges to readers. This philosophy has remained the same ever since and the company owes much of its success to its enduring practice.

Achieving recognition in an established market was an important element in Search Press’s growth, and before long Lotti had established links with the Women’s Institute. Together they launched a nationwide craft competition. The response helped put the company well and truly on the map, establishing it as a formidable force in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Bigger books followed smaller books, many with new authors, and selected published titles were edited into compilations. New sales channels were opened and books were translated into many different languages. Editors were employed to manage and commission new titles for the growing number of series. During this time the books were being distributed by a third-party distributor. But, wanting complete control, Lotti decided that it was time to do her own distribution.

In 1981 a freehold piece of land in Tunbridge Wells, Kent became available with enough space to build an office and a warehouse. Lotti bought and developed it, establishing a perfect base for the business.  At that time, she had nine staff and had gathered together an impressive international team of reps and distributors. Search Press has always been a family affair and her sons, Martin and Nicholas, were very much part of the team, helping out with warehouse duties during their university holidays.  

In 1997 Lotti retired and Martin took over the role of Managing Director with his wife Caroline taking on the role of Rights Director. They have continued the strong traditions established by Lotti, bringing in new ideas and adventurous ways to expand the business.  ‘Quality, affordable price, friendly ‘real human being’ customer service, top priority despatch’ continue to be key. Awards have been won, and the company is now more successful than ever, with record breaking growth.

 

Roz Dace, one half of the Woolly Felters



Independent, family-owned, specialist art and craft publishers since 1970

Awards 2020

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