Book publisher Stephen Johnson dies


Exclusive Books marketing GM Ben Williams agreed that Johnson was a “writer’s publisher”.

“Although he headed up the most important businesses in the books industry in South Africa … but the core of his passion was production of the physical object, was the creation of the book.”

Williams added: “He was obsessive about things like the quality of paper used, the texture of the paper that was going to used when making a book. He worked very closely with a lot of writers to produce beautiful objects in addition to beautiful texts. That’s where he derived a great deal of pleasure in his job.”

Johnson was born in Cape Town and his first job in publishing was with the scholastic publisher Maskew Miller. He later became the GM and MD of Exclusive Books before moving to Random Century, the forerunner of Random House in SA.

In 2008, Johnson became the founding MD of Random House Struik, served as Penguin Books CEO from January 2013 to June 2014 before working for Bargain Books.

Williams said Exclusive Books mourned the loss of Johnson who would be “remembered for many, many years to come”.

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