Shire Books


Shire Books are published by Bloomsbury Publishing, a book publishing company based in London, England, and formerly by Shire Publications Ltd. and Osprey Publishing. Shire offers low priced, concise non-fiction paperbacks on a wide range of subjects. Shire books cover antiques and collectables, motoring and rural history, archaeology and Egyptology, architecture, industrial history and many other topics.

Shire Books
Parent companyBloomsbury Publishing
Founded1962 (1962)
FounderJohn Rotheroe
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
Publication typesBooks

First decadesEdit

Founded in 1962 by John Rotheroe, the company was for many years based in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. The first book published by Shire was Discovering East Suffolk, a 24-page guide to the county through a series of five motoring routes and a gazetteer of the main towns and villages. It was given away to visitors via coach operators, local churches and tourist information points. The book was successful and when it was realized that many of the copies given away were being resold it was decided to sell the second edition, and this set the template for the future of Shire.[1]

Over the following years Shire expanded its Discovering series and launched several new series including Lifelines,[2] Shire Albums,[3] Shire Archaeology,[2] and Shire Egyptology.[1]

2007 onwardsEdit

In 2007 the company was acquired by Oxford-based military history publisher Osprey and operated from Osprey's offices in Oxford.[1]

During 2008 Shire began a revamp of its list. It was announced that several former Shire series (including Life Lines, Shire Garden History and History in Camera) would be absorbed into a new series called Shire Library, which would retain and expand on the numbering system used by the old Album series, which has long formed the backbone of the Shire Library. Books in the Shire Library were to have a new series cover design, as would reissued books in the Archaeology and Egyptology series.[1]

It was further announced that Shire's list of forthcoming publications would include an increased number of new titles, as well as reissues of out-of-print titles, and new editions of existing titles.

In December 2010 Osprey Publishing, along with all the Shire titles, was acquired by Bloomsbury Publishing.[4]

Further readingEdit

John Rotheroe, Thirty Years of Shire Publications: A Bibliography for Collectors of Shire Books, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, Shire Publications, 1992.


  1. ^ a b c d "About Shire". Shire Publications (archived version of Archived from the original on 2 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ a b Shire Publications, Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  3. ^ "The Shire Albums (Shire Publications)". Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Corporate History". 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2016.

External linksEdit

  • Bloomsbury Heritage - current website for Shire books
  • "Shire Books: a specialist publisher of offbeat and obscure books", Stephen McClarence, The Times, 25 July 2008.
  • Discovering series (Shire Publications) l,
  • A Library for Historians,