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Virgin Books
Founded1979 (1979)[1]
FounderRichard Branson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
DistributionThe Book Service
Publication typesBooks
Owner(s)Random House (90%)
Virgin Group (10%)

Virgin Books is a British book publisher 90% owned by the publishing group Random House, and 10% owned by Virgin Group, the company originally set up by Richard Branson as a record company.


Virgin established its book publishing arm in the late 1970s; in the latter part of the 1980s Virgin purchased several existing companies, including WH Allen, well known among Doctor Who fans for their Target Books imprint; Virgin Books was incorporated into WH Allen in 1989, but in 1991 WH Allen was renamed Virgin Publishing Ltd.

Virgin Publishing's early success came with the Doctor Who New Adventures novels, officially licensed full-length novels carrying on the story of the popular science-fiction television series following its cancellation in 1989. Virgin published this series from 1991 to 1997, as well as a range of Doctor Who reference books from 1992 to 1998 under the Doctor Who Books imprint.

In recent times the company is best known for its commercial non-fiction list, which includes business, health and lifestyle, music, film, and celebrity biographies. Richard Branson's autobiography Losing My Virginity, released in 1998, was an international best-seller at the time, and continues to sell well. His follow-up title Business Stripped Bare was published in September 2008. Virgin Business Guides included titles by Robert Craven, Paul Barrow and Rachelle Thackray. More recently the company has enjoyed success with Robert H Frank's The Economic Naturalist, where the author had his economics students pose interesting questions from everyday life and explain them through economics.

Random House, through its United Kingdom division, acquired a 90% stake in the company in March 2007.[2] In November 2009, Virgin became an independent imprint within Ebury Publishing, a division of the Random House Group.[3]


Other popular ranges have included various erotic fiction lines:


  1. ^ "Virgin Books – More about Virgin Books". Archived from the original on 2 September 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  2. ^ Joel Rickett, Random House UK buys Virgin Books Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Bookseller, 5 March 2007 (via Internet Archive)
  3. ^ Benedicte Page, "Virgin joins Ebury stable, Sadler leaving" Archived 7 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Bookseller, 2 November 2009
  4. ^ a b Benedicte Page, Erotica on hold for Black Lace and Nexus at Virgin[permanent dead link], The Bookseller, 6 July 2009
  5. ^ Benedicte Page, Ebury to revive Black Lace, The Bookseller, 26 April 2012. Archived 2012-04-29 at the Wayback Machine