Dramatic expansion of King’s Lynn-based Book Life

10:00 02 August 2012

CEO of Book Life Nick Ison, which is based in King

CEO of Book Life Nick Ison, which is based in King's Lynn. Picture; Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

A King’s Lynn-based business which supplies national curriculum books to schools and libraries has seen the dramatic expansion of both its workforce and office space in just two years of trading.

Book Life, which was set up by educational publisher Nick Ison, now has a vast warehouse and more office space on the North Lynn Industrial Estate employing 30 people – and he expects to increase staff numbers to 40 within the next six months.

The closure of local authority school library services – which saw the public sector give expert advice on books – provided an opportunity for Book Life.

As well as supplying books from a spectrum of publishers and their own publications, the company also helps schools choose collections to tie in with the curriculum through a catalogue, social media and telesales. Mr Ison employs former schools library service employee Linda Banner.

The business has increased its turnover from £300,000 in its first year, to £2m in its second year. As well as supplying schools and libraries in the UK, it has also seen a significant expansion of its international business and now supplies books to schools in countries including South Africa, the United States, Kuwait, Egypt, Botswana, Argentina, Japan and India.

Mr Ison, who has lived in King’s Lynn for more than 35 years, said that while he initially had problems finding staff in the town, the company now had an in-house training scheme.

He said: “What we identified is that there is a massive amount of experience among mothers and single dads. They have been working in an office and what they want is to have the school holidays off and work from 9am to 3.30pm. It fits in with the education hours as well. We have come across a massive bank of people that cannot find jobs elsewhere.”

He said he was committed to the town where he now had a core of trained staff from designers to people with education expertise.


Show Job Lists


People playing Pokemon Go on St George's Street, Norwich.

The breakthrough of Pokémon Go marks the coming-of-age of augmented reality you can carry in your pocket. But what opportunities does it offer for business - and how can they capitalise?

J&S Jewellery was launched three years ago by sisters Jenny and Sophie Laslett and is now turning over £1M a year. Photo : Steve Adams

When launching a jewellery business in late 2012, sisters Jenny and Sophie Laslett used some borrowed money and a spare room. After ordering a small batch from a manufacturer in the Far East, their only customers the first Christmas were friends and family.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Mustard TV

Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Shaun Lowthorpe

Business Publishing Editor


Sabah Meddings

Business Writer


Duncan Abel

Business Development Manager

Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented

Newsletter Sign Up