The Wharf newspaper writes: "It all started in 1978 when Bill Smith met Australian journalist Max Harris and formed a book club with no membership fees but with newsletters sent out 10 times a year.
Owner Annie Quigley says: "It just started with two elderly gentlemen with an eclectic mix of books. It was very profitable for them but sadly Max Harris died."
Annie joined the company in 1985, becoming editor of the newsletter in 1988 and when Bill Smith developed cancer he made plans for her to buy the company from his widow.
In 1992, when Annie bought and took over the company, it was based in Thomas Road, Poplar London E14, but when the property was sold to developers and Bibliophile was given a few months' notice, it was a blessing in disguise.
"We were bursting out at that stage. We had quadrupled the size of the business."
After 9 years in Canning Town London E16, business rates forced a relocation and happily, the office editorial and customer services team moved into beautiful views at the 31 Riverside office at Trinity Buoy Wharf, overlooking the O2 and the Thames and London's only lighthouse!
With over 3,500 titles at any one time, its choices available are certainly broad, from Wordsworth editions selling from £2 to high-end art books. One of the major selling points for the brand is the fact it gives 50-90 per cent off the cover price of its books, which comes about by picking up titles and offering them at affordable prices.
Annie said: "We have signed editions, first editions. Publishers need to clear stocks as there are so many books printed. It's a gamble for us though because, unlike a bookshop that has sale or return, we don't have that. I have to go on gut instinct. That's where literary knowledge comes in."
The 10-times-a-year newsletter, edited by Annie, is the staple part of the business, with ten of thousands on the mailing list.
"We do independent, honest reviews. I do two-thirds of them and we ran a competition for contributors in our style for which we had 2,500 people enter. In the end, six people won and they got a contract as freelancers." Since 2010, video reviews have been created in-house and seen by over 1.9 million viewers on the YouTube channel /bibliophilebooks.
After 9 years in Canning Town London E16, business rates forced a relocation an dhappily, the office editorial and customer services team moved into beautiful views at the31 Riverside office at Trinity Buoy Wharf, overlooking the O2 and the Thames and London's only lighthouse!
Later the business was partnered by Fred Bass “the New York Bookseller” and owner of the famous Strand Bookstore, now approaching its 100th year.
In July 1992 Annie became sole proprieto and bought out Bill Smith's widow and Fred Bass. Since then, she has grown the business to over four times the size and is still run by a small, dedicated staff, six of whom have served over 15 years.
Bibliophile's own eBooks and Publications was launched in 2009.
In 2011 Bibliophile was granted a Royal Warrant for Bookselling to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. See Press coverage in Raconteur in the Times - Turn to page 6 to read a little of how special it is to be a grantee of a Royal Warrant and the history of the award.
Annie Quigley was elected to the Council of the Windsor, Eton & District Royal Warrant Holders Association in 2013 and became Vice President then President in 2016. She now writes and edits their official website.