To many adults, Ladybird was synonymous with growing up in the 1960s ad 1970s. They were a series of books based on a variety of subjects aimed at children, giving them an education and entertaining them at the same time. One of their major selling points is their size, which meant an entire book, which was around 56 pages, including illustrations, could be printed on a single sheet of A4 paper, which when cut and bound, left no waste. Their original selling point was 12.5p
Ladybird's origins begin in 1867, when Henry Willis opened up a bookshop in Loughborough, Liecestershire. By 1877, he'd gotten a printing press and was printing some of the earliest known maps and street directories known. In 1904, he went into business with William Hepworth and began trading with him. In 1914, Willis and Hepworth created the Ladybird brand and were printing illustrated children's stories to begin with.
After that, the popularity of Ladybird books exploded. During the 1950s and well into the 70s, Ladybird started printing a number of educational books, ranging on a wide variety of subjects. From soldiers, to medicine, to employment, to nuclear energy, composers, painters and the most well known of all, the Peter and Jane series of books. To many people, they were a staple part of any British school classroom and of course, children's bedroom.
Like many classic British companies, they started to decline in the 1990s and eventually merged with Puffin Books, who owns them now. The factory that made the books in Loughborough closed down in 1999. However, in 2015, Ladybird came back with a series of parody books. They were of the same size and format as the original books from the 1970s, with similar artwork. These books were aimed at adult
The Ladybird collectors market has really boomed over the past few years. Many adult collectors are looking to recapture their youth and buy these books again. They do go for fairly cheap on the collectors market and can be an inexpensive hobby for many fans.