Peter Usborne, the founder of Usborne Books, passed away on March 30, 2023 at the age of 85.
Peter launched Usborne Publishing LTD, a children’s book publishing house, in 1973, which would become the largest independent children’s book publisher in the UK. In 1989, Usborne Books & More (rebranded to PaperPie in 2023) was formed as the U.S. direct selling company which sold Usborne books as well as other products. This division would become wildly successful, with more than $100 million in net sales annually.
Peter’s daughter, Usborne Publishing LTD Managing Director Nicola Usborne, released a statement about her father’s passing, saying: “I am heartbroken that my beloved dad died suddenly this morning. We will miss him more than I can say. He was a brilliant, ever curious, ever enthusiastic man, who was also very kind, very generous and honorable and principled to his core. He was the best dad I could imagine.”
Nicola described the day her father passed, saying he rode the tube to his office and spent the day working and in meetings with HarperCollins U.S., discussing US trade channel expansion. Retiring, Nicola says, was not something he ever entertained.
“We were incredibly sorry to hear of the passing of Peter Usborne. There are some people, who when thought of, seem as though they could live forever and Peter was among that list. Fortunately for all of us, his legacy will endure for years to come. I was honored to have just recently spent an evening with him in Bologna, first celebrating 50 years of Usborne Publishing and then enjoying dinner together. He has made an indelible mark on children and families everywhere. He will be missed,” stated Craig White, President & CEO, Educational Development Corporation (parent company of PaperPie).
Usborne is survived by his wife Wendy, children Nicola and Martin, and five grandchildren.