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About Profile Books

Profile Books was founded on April Fool’s Day in 1996 by Andrew Franklin and Stephen Brough to publish stimulating non-fiction in a wide range of fields, including history, business, economics, science and biography, with a sprinkling of humour.

Bestsellers over the years have included Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (more than 3 million copies sold worldwide) and the New Scientist ‘Last Word’ series, which has sold over 2.5 million copies to date. Bestselling authors include Mary BeardAlan BennettSimon GarfieldFrancis FukuyamaSimon Jenkins and Atul Gawande.

Since its beginning, Profile has published books under the Economist Books imprint, in association with The Economist. The annual Pocket World in Figures is approaching its 30th edition and recent titles range from the Christmas bestseller Go Figure to Bill Emmott’s landmark political essay, The Fate of the West.

In 2002 the company acquired the HarperCollins UK business list, including classics like In Search Of Excellence. Profile’s bestselling business list includes The 48 Laws Of Power and Growth Hacker Marketing.

Serpent’s Tail was founded by Pete Ayrton in 1986 and became an imprint of Profile in 2007. It publishes highly distinctive award-winning international fiction such as Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, Karen Joy Fowler’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Lionel Shriver's Orange Prize winner We Need To Talk About Kevin, and books by Mary Gaitskill, The Moth, Jami Attenberg, Alain Mabanckou, Attica Locke and J Robert Lennon.

In 2012, Profile launched a new list with Wellcome Collection, designed to showcase brilliant writing about medicine, the body and the human condition. Some noticeable successes on the list include Forensics by Val McDermid, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and Adventures in Human Being by Gavin Francis, all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers.  

In 2014, 80 Days, an app produced by Inkle in association with Profile, was nominated for four BAFTA Games Awards and won a FutureBook Award. An innovative maths app, Incredible Numbers, with content by Professor Ian Stewart, launched in 2014 in partnership with Touchpress, and won a 2015 Digital Book World award. 

Since 2014, Profile has published boutique list Tuskar Rock, editorially selected by Colm Tóibín and Peter Straus. In 2015, a Tuskar Rock book, Seiobo There Below by László Krasznahorkai, won the Man Booker International Prize and Chris Kraus’ cult book I Love Dick became a bestseller almost twenty years after it was first published.

Third Millennium Publishing, a publisher specialising in highly illustrated histories of companies, organisations and schools, joined Profile in 2015. Notable Third Millennium titles include histories of the University of Cambridge, the law firm Hogan Lovells, and an illustrated history of the Women’s Institute.

Profile Books has won Independent Publisher of the Year awards three times. In 2017 The Essex Serpent was named the Fiction Book of the Year, the Book of the Year and won Publicity Campaign of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.

Visit our catalogue page to browse the catalogue online or download a PDF version.