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Omnibus Books Omnibus Books i(A37239 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Omnibus)
Born: Established: 1981 Adelaide, South Australia, ;
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Established by Jane Covernton and Sue Williams who had both gained their early publishing experience at Rigby Limited, Omnibus Books began by packaging children's books for other publishers. Its first book under its own imprint was One Woolly Wombat (1982) which sold out before the launch and was reprinted several times within the year. The next book, Possum Magic (1983), established children's publishing as big business and Omnibus Books as 'the signature publisher of quintessentially Australian picture books' (Covernton, p. 300).

Omnibus established major writers such as Mem Fox and Gillian Rubinstein (qq.v.). However it was the press's 'signature illustration talents that really distinguished it from other publishers' (Sheahan-Bright, p. 229). Bestselling Omnibus illustrators included Kerry Argent, Julie Vivas, Craig Smith and Ann James (qq.v.).

However, because its early books were such enormous bestsellers requiring huge print runs (with huge print bills), Omnibus entered into a co-publishing arrangement with Penguin Australia. This arrangement continued into the 1990s when Omnibus Books was acquired by Scholastic Australia, which was at that time the sixth largest publisher in Australia. Covernton and Williams worked with Scholastic until 1997 when they left the imprint to establish the independent children's publishing company, Working Title Press.

In 1996 Dyan Blacklock was appointed publisher and she took up the role in January 1997. Senior editor Cecilia Jellet - the editor of Possum Magic - continued to play a central role in Omnibus. The highly awarded Solo series, created by Blacklock in 1996, was the first series of its kind in Australia, designed to create a model of the novel for a beginning reader. The Omnibus imprint is the Adelaide-based publishing arm of Scholastic Australia.

Based in Malvern, South Australia.


Jane Covernton, interview with Keith Barrie on Musical Brunch, Radio 5UV, 13 November 1999, 26 minutes, OH 488/11, State Library of South Australia.

Jane Covernton, 'Case-study: Omnibus Books' in Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia 1946-2005, eds Craig Munro and Robyn Sheahan-Bright, UQP, 2006, pp. 299-302.

Robyn Sheahan-Bright, 'To Market, To Market: The Development of the Australian Children's Publishing Industry', PhD thesis, Griffith University, 2004.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Solo Wildlife 2000 London : Southwood , 2000 Z1197826 2000 series - author information book novel children's
2003 winner The Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children's Literature Nonfiction Awarded to the series.
Last amended 6 Dec 2017 09:07:56
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