Change of ownership for iconic northern publishing house

Colourpoint Creative Limited and the Baird Group are today delighted to announce the sale of Blackstaff Press to Colourpoint, effective 28 April 2017. The acquisition secures the future of Blackstaff Press, and ensures that it will continue to be based in Northern Ireland. Colourpoint intends to invest in and expand the publishing activities of Blackstaff Press which will continue to operate as a distinct publishing imprint. Existing staff will continue to be involved in the business and existing relationships with sales teams, distributors and other key suppliers will remain unchanged.

Blackstaff Press, founded in 1971, is an iconic brand with a long and rich heritage. It has published authors such as John Hewitt, Bernard McLaverty, Glenn Patterson, Patricia Craig, Ciaran Carson and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and has over 800 titles to its name. In recent times, the business has achieved commercial success with a string of memoirs from authors such as John Richardson and Liam Beckett; a series of road racing books from Stephen Davison; and a growing humour list that features writers such as Leesa Harker and brands such as the Ulster Fry and Waterford Whispers News.

Colourpoint is the largest publisher based in Northern Ireland with nine staff working from its offices in Newtownards and operates a thriving non-fiction list alongside its education titles, distribution and self-publishing services.
Malcolm and Wesley Johnston, Directors of Colourpoint Creative Ltd, are excited at the prospect of making Blackstaff Press even more successful: “We are pleased that we are in a position to sustain Blackstaff Press, to invest in its future and grow the business. Its strengths in the Irish market and further afield, as well as its heritage of creative, quality and independent publishing, complement the recent developments at Colourpoint and we see this as great news for Irish publishing.”
Roy Bailie OBE, Chairman of the Baird Group commented: “I am delighted that this excellent local publisher is taking up the reins as I did 20 years ago from Michael Burns and as he did from Jim and Diane Gracey.”

Patsy Horton, Managing Editor of Blackstaff Press, said: “Blackstaff has been under the ownership of the Baird Group since 1995 and has been enormously lucky to have had its support during some very challenging times. Over those twenty-two years Blackstaff has published more than three hundred books, developed a thriving ebook list, nurtured hundreds of authors and brought pleasure to hundreds of thousands of readers. The acquisition by Colourpoint Creative represents a new and exciting phase for Blackstaff and I look forward to the possibilities and opportunities ahead.”

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which has supported Blackstaff Press for several decades, welcomed the development: “These are challenging times for the book industry and vision remains at a premium. The Council notes that this acquisition secures the iconic Blackstaff brand to everyone’s satisfaction and so conserves a published backlist of considerable cultural and artistic value. We thank the Baird Group for sustaining Blackstaff for more than 20 years as a leader in Irish publishing and we wish Colourpoint Creative Ltd, with its own distinctive ethos, every success in developing this important brand in the future.”
Colourpoint Creative Limited and Blackstaff Press believe that the acquisition provides exciting opportunities for both brands in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and further afield.

Media contact
Jacky Hawkes on 028 9182 0505 / 07866 527366 or

Notes to editors

  1. Colourpoint Creative Ltd is the largest publisher in Northern Ireland and was founded in 1993. It publishes school resources for secondary level in the CCEA Specifications, an extensive non-fiction list in transport, history, biography & memoir and general interest, and provides distribution and self-publishing services.
  2. Blackstaff Press was founded in 1971 and has published over 800 titles. It publishes a range of subjects including history, politics, cookery, memoir, sport, fiction, poetry and humour.
  3. The Baird Group is owned and run by Roy Bailie OBE. Formed in 1977, The Baird Group provides end-toend publishing capability in printed and electronic communications.