Business has never been better for The Folio Society - a 75 year old UK-based luxury book printing business.
You would perhaps assume that book publishing would have seen its demise a long time ago in this digital day and age, but on the contrary - luxury books have never been more in demand and The Folio Society is a world leader in the making of desirable book collectables.
The Folio Society is an 100% employee-ownership trust - meaning that the business is owned completely by the people that work there and painstakingly make the products - and services customers around the world through its own online channel.
The business only produces around 50 new books a year and making just one book can take years to research, illustrate, design and print. It was always a successful little business, but in the last 5 years has gained something of a cult-like following by fans.
Printed books - much like vinyl records - are increasingly being seen as a collectable luxury that not only have utility value, but also carries with it a symbol of intellectual status.
Unlike digital copies of books or music streamed from Spotify - it's rare to see somebody sitting in a coffeeshop engrossed in a leather bound copy of Pride and Prejudice (but oh so unbelievably attractive). This kind of outward projection of one's crafted 'intellectual-self' is increasingly akin to owning a Barbour jacket or a genuine vintage Burberry bag.
Owning beautiful books and displaying them in your home tells the world who you really are without having to say a word.
For their 75th birthday celebrations, they asked fans to vote for the book they would most like to see recreated. The winner after 5000 votes was Michael Ende’s iconic 1979 tale, The Neverending Story - an iconic story about the power of the imagination.
The luxury market everywhere is still very much thriving and growing. I can't think of too many South African brands that willingly choose this positioning, but it's certainly a lot less frenetic than slugging it out in the mass market.