Icon Books is an independent British publisher formed in 1992 which publishes popular, engaging and sometimes provocative non-fiction for adults.
Icon were, for a number of years, best known for a series of illustrated, witty but intelligent guides to subjects such as Freud, Postmodernism and Einstein. Originally called … for Beginners, and now Introducing, the series is known throughout the world and is the cornerstone of Icon’s success. See more at the series’ website here.
The company has, however, moved in the past decade into more orthodox trade publishing, producing many stand-alone successes. We have been proud to gain a reputation amongst the trade in recent years for being a brave, aggressive, forward-thinking and original publisher with a knack for succeeding in many diverse areas. We have particular strengths in politics, popular philosophy and psychology, history, sport, humour and, especially, popular science.
Recent non-science successes include: Martin Bell’s The Truth that Sticks (Martin called Icon ‘a corvette among battleships’), published last September; Jessica Williams’ 50 Facts that Should Change the World, originally published in 2004 but still selling strongly throughout the world; 365: Great Stories from History for Every Day of the Year; Stealing the Scream by Edward Dolnick, a hugely well-regarded non-fiction art / crime caper; and Why Do People Hate America?, Icon’s biggest-ever hit which has sold a quarter-of-a-million copies and been translated into 20 languages.
In 2009 Manjit Kumar’s Quantum was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction, and that title has since gone on to one one of Icon’s biggest sellers. 2009 also saw the publication of Tetsuya Ishikawa’s fictionalised credit-crunch memoir, How I Caused the Credit Crunch, and John Farndon’s brilliantly appealing Do You Think You’re Clever?, a major seller for Icon before Christmas 2009.
Icon’s imprints include Wizard Books, which publishes children’s books, primarily the original and best interactive gamebook series Fighting Fantasy, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, and Corinthian, our newish sports imprint. Corinthian’s successes have so far included the Irish William Hill Sports Prize winner Crashed & Byrned, and Luca Caioli’s biographies, Torres and Messi.