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. Looking for inventive books, powerful voices and lively thought, early bestsellers included Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (more than 3 million copies sold worldwide) and the New Scientist ‘Last Word’ series, which sold over 2.5 million copies. We are a lifelong home for authors and create books that surprise, delight and endure. Bestselling authors include Mary Beard, Oliver Bullough, Alan Bennett, Margaret MacMillan, Francis Fukuyama, Shaun Bythell, Robert Greene, Ryan Holiday, Shoshana Zuboff and Eugenia Cheng.

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 thirtieth edition and has sold over three million copies. Recent titles range from the Christmas bestseller Unconventional Wisdom to Philip Coggan’s world economic history More.

In 2002 the company acquired the HarperCollins UK business list, including classics such as In Search Of Excellence and What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School.

Founded by Pete Ayrton in 1986, Serpent’s Tail 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, Esi Edugyan, Jami Attenberg, Alain Mabanckou, Attica Locke and Carmen Maria Machado. The Serpent’s Tail Classics includes titles by Walter Mosley, Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, Elfriede Jelinek, Eileen Myles and David Peace. Viper Books, a crime imprint, was added in 2019, with its first title A Famished Heart by Nicola White published in February 2020.

In 2012, Profile launched a new list with Wellcome Collection, designed to showcase brilliant writing about science, health, medicine and human experience. Notable successes 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, as well as books by Elif Shafak, Susie Orbach, Adam Kucharski, Iain Sinclair, Joanna Cannon and Tiffany Watt Smith.

Since 2014, we have published a boutique list Tuskar Rock, selected by Colm Tóibín and Peter Straus. In 2015, 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.

Profile took on Souvenir Press in 2018 following the death of its legendary founder, Ernest Hecht. He had run the company for a record sixty-seven years. Souvenir has a wide-ranging backlist of around 500 titles and is especially strong in psychology, expert advice, health and creativity. Bestsellers include the multimillion selling The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan, She Comes First by Ian Kerner and Cribsheet by Emily Oster.

Profile Editions (formerly Third Millennium Publishing), a publisher specialising in highly illustrated histories of companies, organisations and schools, joined Profile in 2015. Notable titles include histories of the University of Cambridge, The Royal College of Physicians, The New School, New York, an illustrated history of the Women’s Institute and the Man Booker Prize diary.

In 2020 Profile began a publishing partnership with CHEERIO. The brainchild of leading literary agent Clare Conville and celebrated author and curator Harriet Vyner, the name is a nod to Francis Bacon’s favourite drinking toast. Partnered by the Estate of Francis Bacon, its eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction, drama and factual, will appeal to enquiring minds with an artistic bent. Its publishing programme will start in spring 2022 with works from DBC Pierre and Tade Thompson, and the Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller.

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. It was also Waterstones Book of the Year.

When Profile started there were three people, now there are fifty in the company and we publish around 100 new books a year. Twenty-five years on and our mission is unchanged: to be a fearless publisher of a diverse range of distinctive books, of the highest quality, written by the best authors in their field, and to remain a beacon of independent publishing.

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