Quarto chief to step down

The founder of Quarto Books, known for its illustrated "how-to" non-fiction guides, yesterday signalled he is ready for a new chapter as he is quitting as chief executive after 36 years.

Laurence Orbach plans to step down in around 12 months and has recruited a successor who will serve as chief operating officer during the handover. Quarto did not reveal his identity as he is still working for another company.

Mr Orbach, who founded Quarto in 1976 and floated it in 1986, said he is "relieved" and will remain chairman.

"Whether I'm ready or not, time will tell," added the 69-year-old, who was reporting a 21 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to $9.4m (£5.9m), with revenues up 6 per cent at $186.1m.

Mr Orbach said print sales remain strong because e-books have not replicated the appeal of illustrated books. One of last year's best-sellers was Decorate by Jacqui Small.

But he warned that as non-book retailers become more important, publishers must think of marketing their books as products.

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