Sixty-seven years after Ernest Hecht founded Souvenir Press and eight months after his death at the age of 88, Profile Books is delighted to be taking over all the publishing operations of one of Britain’s most stalwart and distinctive independents. 

When Ernest Hecht died early this year, still at the helm of the company he had founded in the bedroom of his parents’ home in 1951, he left his executors clear instructions about what he wanted to happen to his publishing company.  He had a (short) list of publishers he approved of and a (much longer) one he did not want to get their hands on his life’s work.  He wanted the name to live on and his commitment to independence to be honoured.

Souvenir has a varied backlist of around 500 active titles and is especially strong in psychology, personal development, health and wellness.

Andrew Franklin, Managing Director of Profile Books said: “I knew Ernest Hecht for many years and he was an inspiration to me early in my career.  So, it is an honour that Profile Books was one of the few companies he was willing to entrust his publishing to.  It is a privilege to be taking over Souvenir’s publishing. 

He created a marvellously eclectic list ranging from some of the peaks of European literature, including Nobel laureates, to huge mass-market bestsellers over a range of subjects that constantly surprise.  Ernest himself was particularly proud of the New Horizons series which was one of the very first self-help/health lists in the UK and remains a benchmark for books on specific mental and health problems.

We will be keeping the name and lists going, honouring their quality and individual character.  We will be appointing an editor to run the lists as soon as we can and we want to build on Ernest Hecht’s extraordinary 67 year legacy.” 

The sum paid by Profile is not being disclosed but after Ernest’s wishes are fulfilled, the residue of Ernest’s extensive estate is bequeathed to his own long established charity, The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation. Established in 2003, The Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation provides financial and practical assistance with the aim of making a difference to people’s lives.