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The birthplace of discounted books

Wordsworth Editions was established in 1987, but it was the launch in 1992 of the £1 Classic paperback, the brainchild of the late Michael Trayler, that put us in spotlight. This was back in the days before book prices could be discounted so the fact that we could offer titles at a fraction of the cost of existing editions caused something of a sensation, and made them irresistible to lovers of classic literature.


Wordworth was established

On the 16th January 1987 Wordsworth Editions was formed.


Launch of the £1 Classic paperbacks

In May 1992, the very first iconic £1 classic was produced.


The books got a new lease of life…

After some experimenting, the team made some format changes. Our books went from a A to B format, the titles were typeset, and time and money was spent adding exclusive Notes and Introductions.


The competition heats up

In response to Wordsworth’s success, other competitively priced ‘popular classics’ hit the market. Later in the year, the Poetry and World Literature series were published.


The little black classics

The classics needed modernising, it was decided that the jackets would be resigned in sleek black. This year also saw the release of the Special Editions.


Hot off the press…

Headlines were made. Not everyone was too impressed with Wordsworth’s new look. After some unfortunate competitor conflict, Wordsworth thought it best to use a different style, so the classics went back to blue.


A new ‘addition’

Derek Wright joined Wordsworth ranks. He soon became part of the family. He is currently Wordsworth’s Finance Director.


A chapter closes..

Owner and creator Michael Trayler, the mind behind the £1 classic lost his battle with cancer and passed away on 13th April 2005.


Back to black

After a turbulent few years, Helen Trayler took the helm and Wordsworth threw caution to the wind and decided to return to the black classics, come what may.


The recession hits..

For many, this spelled hard times and profit loss. However, Wordsworth thrived; we gained untapped areas of the market that had previously preferred a higher priced product, such as the education sector. Nichola the founders’ daughter also joined the company this year.


Record high…

After nearly two years in Lockdowns, the public seemingly decided that it was time to read ‘The Classics.’ As a result Wordsworth enjoyed its best year for sales in over two decades. This was greatly aided by the addition of the Collector’s and Exclusive series.

December 2022

Helen passed away..

On the 12th of December 2022 Helen passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Her all encompassing love, quick wit and potty mouth will never be forgotten.

January 2023

New generation of Wordsworth.

In January, Helen’s daughter Nichola became the new Managing Director and is currently leading our small team with enthusiasm and determination. Nichola is on a mission to make the company her own by way of redesigning the entire range, with a view of making the books more beautiful and sustainable.

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