ATG Star of the Week: Tim Coates, Founder, Bilbary

by | May 11, 2012 | 1 comment

 Tim Coates

Title: Founder

Organization: Bilbary

Address: 19, Rue Aldringen, Luxembourg, L-1011


Born and lived: UK

Early life: Degrees from Oxford University and Masters from Stirling University

Professional career and activities: International Bookselling and publishing for more than 30 years. I was ceo of WH Smith in Europe, ceo of Waterstone’s book stores, I operated my own large independent book store in London, was General Manager of YBP in the UK. I have spent time writing and editing; author of several books and editor of a series of history titles. I have been very active in the design of public libraries and in campaigns for their improvement

Family: Married to Bridget Cave,  we have two sons, Sam and Olly.  Sam is deputy political editor of The Times in London; Olly has recently been named Royal Philharmonic International Young Artist of 2012- he is a ‘cellist.

In my spare time:  I read and listen to music

Favorite books:  thousands – but just this week “Dear Miss Landau” by James Christie

Pet peeves: Government officials

Philosophy: ‘It probably doesn’t matter’

Most memorable career achievement: My first book accepted for publication by Bloomsbury.  And several professional programs and developments in bookselling:

Goal I hope to achieve five years from now: Bilbary to be a success

How/where do I see the industry in five years (please answer this question if you answer none of the others):  The heart of the publishing industry is about writing (and reading).  I don’t think that will ever change.  I hope there will be wonderful new writers and I am sure there will be.  Of course the industry is tumultuous – but it always has been- not because anything is wrong with it, but because writing is open to anyone to do; it costs nothing.  Giant corporations scrabble over each other to make their fortunes out of something that cost nothing in the first place.  All the technology that surrounds us is wonderful, but it is not the essence of what we do.  Even more puzzling is that the best writing isn’t about anything-  it can be about nothing. That is the magic of our medium- and that won’t change in five years or fifty

1 Comment

  1. Susan England

    Dear Tim

    Gosh, it’s ages since we last made contact. To my memory it was when we were putting together the proposal for Nottingham Galleries of Justice. What a shame that never came off? I am of course aware of your long crusade about public libraries and have kept an eye on what you have been involved in. This is (at least to me) a new venture – Bilbury. Good name. Not quite blackberry but certainly a nice fruit! I would love to know a little more about it. Perhaps you can spare a little time to tell me more. It would be smashing to meet up some time soon. Are you still based in London or have you moved to Belgium? Hope to hear from you. Ttfn, Susan.

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