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By annabelle dickson
Thursday, August 2, 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.
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.