Omnibus Press is the world’s largest specialist publisher of music-related books. It publishes around 30 new titles a year to add to a backlist of over 250 titles currently in print.
Omnibus Press was launched in 1976 as a general non-fiction publisher to complement the sheet music published and distributed by its parent company Music Sales Group. The previous year Music Sales had launched a separate company called Book Sales Ltd and the earliest Book Sales catalogue, issued in 1975, included compilations of underground comic strips, art and photography titles and one of the earliest ever books on the then newly discovered art of video.
After former Melody Maker music journalist Chris Charlesworth joined as Omnibus editor in 1983, it was decided to concentrate exclusively on music books, and among its earliest acquisitions was Rock Family Trees by acclaimed music archivist Pete Frame which remain in print to this day and have been the basis of two BBC TV series. Over the succeeding decades Omnibus has published many best-selling definitive biographies on most of rock’s greatest superstars. These include Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance by Johnny Rogan, Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher, Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story by Victor Bockris and Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White.
Among noted rock and pop writers whose work has been published by Omnibus over the years are Richard Williams, Chris Welch, Peter Dogget, Patrick Humphries, David Sinclair and Everett True (UK) and Dave Marsh, Paul Williams, Nelson George, Jerry Hopkins, David Ritz and Danny Sugerman (US).
Wise Music Group has published The Beatles’ printed sheet music since the company’s inception, and this close relationship with the world’s most famous pop group is reflected in the large number of high-quality Beatles-related books that Omnibus has published over the years. These include The Beatles: A Diary by Barry Miles, a Beatles insider from the early days, With The Beatles: The Historic Photos of Dezo Hoffman, the most iconic photo book on the band ever published, and The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles by Dominic Pedlar, the most detailed analytical study of their music. In 2007 Omnibus published Colin Larkin’s Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise Edition). At 1,600 pages, this is the abridged version of Larkin’s renowned 10-volume encyclopedia, the most authoritative biographical listing of rock, pop and jazz artists ever published.
In 2006 Music Sales acquired Sanctuary Books which added a significant number of additional music books to the Omnibus catalogue, as well as a number of sports, travel and novelty & gift books.
In February 2020 parent company Wise Music Group changed its name from The Music Sales Group
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