Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A new chapter opens for Politicos...and Iain Dale.

My pictures above show Iain Dale pictured outside his shop with Jeremy Thorpe, the former leader of the Liberals and inside with some of his stock. Pictures copyright

I received an email from Iain Dale last night saying that he had sold politicos website ending his ten year association with the 'Politicos' brand that he created with his business partner John Simmons. Although it is the website that is the last to go, it is probably the bookshop that was Iain's biggest success. To open a highly specialized bookshop in the heart of Westminster with an absolutely first class stock and great retailing standards and to succeed at making money at it without any previous experience of either retailing generally or the book trade was a real achievement. The clientele was pretty amazing too; I saw Diane Abbot, Peter Oborne and (I think) a wind-swept Simon Jenkins doing their shopping at different times on visits to the shop. After hearing Iain on a Radio Four program, I invited him to speak at a Southampton Test Conservative function and like the true gent he is, he came along and spoke brilliantly.

Another huge achievement was the establishing of the Politicos Publishing imprint. While there are a few publishers who had seen a gap in the market for relatively small run political books (I'm thinking of Robson and Continiuum as two fairly good examples), the big boys by virtue of a mixture of inertia and incompetence were missing all sorts of opportunities. Iain went on to re-publish some classics of the genre (Bernard Ingham 'Kill the Messenger...again', Sir Rex Hunt 'My Falkland Days') as well as some excellent new biographies (Sir John Nott 'Here Today Gone Tomorrow - Recollections of an errant politician', Jeremy Thorpe 'In My Own Time') to name but four. Politicos went on to sent up a web-site design business for the political community and an on-line book ordering business that went on to be quite successful. In the last few years the decision was taken to close the shop and concentrate on e-sales and sell the publishing business to Methuen. Eyebrows were raised when Methuen re-opened the premises in Artillery Row but things have never been the same since Iain ended his involvement there. It is a souless place now.

Iain has achieved great success with his blog and is one of the Conservative Party 'A-listers'. He wrote yesterday that he now going to concentrate on writing, broadcasting and an exciting new TV venture. Like everything else Iain does in business, I have no doubt that the TV in particular will be both innovative and fun. Good luck to him.


Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

An end of an era, will there be a Little Red Book No 2, I wonder.

Still, Iain has the whole world at his feet, and there are only so many hours in the day.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Croydonian said...

I too wonder how the Dalemeister manages to fit so much into a day....

1:53 pm  

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