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William Heinemann, now commonly known as simply Heinemann, is a publishing group and today, UK branch is the subsidiary of Random House Books.


William Heinemann was founded by William Henry Heinemann in 1890 in the UK after Nicholas Trübner's death.

In 1984, Heinemann acquired Kaye & Ward, the publisher of the Railway Series, but the imprint was used up to Toby, Trucks and Trouble in 1988.

Heinemann's owner, Octopus Publishing, was acquired by Reed Children's Books in 1987[1], but the imprint was used from Thomas and the Twins in 1989 to New Little Engine in 1996. They published several Thomas & Friends books, including pop-up books, The Island of Sodor, Rev. W. Awdry's biography and the complete collection.

On 25th April 1998, Reed International sold their children's books division to Egmont UK Limited and the copyright of the Railway Series to the Britt Allcroft Company for £13.5 million.[2][3] Egmont acquired the rights to publish the Railway Series, and in the same year they published the new format versions of series.[4]

Nowadays, Heinemann is one of the leading publishers for educational books.



  • The copyright of "William Heinemann Limited" was displayed on merchandise and books worldwide until 1998.


  1. Timeline on Reed Elsevier
  2. Egmont Buys Reed Children's Books on Publishers Weekly
  3. A Very Important Announcement by the Stationmaster on Reed Children's Books
  4. Frequently Asked Questions on Awdry Family Website

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