World Distributors

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World Distributors or World International Publishing Limited - often referred to as Pembertons or as simply World pronounced with resigned contempt - was a British publishing company largely dedicated to producing licensed tie-in books aimed at children.

Among the many properties they produced books for were the "big 3" of cult sci-fi franchises - Doctor Who, Star Trek and GoBots.

Books[edit | edit source]

Mini World[edit | edit source]

Small, cheap softback storybooks. Among the books issued were titles based on BraveStarr, The Centurions, The Glo Friends and Rainbow. The range included four GoBots books, published in 1985. All four titles were also released as cassette tapes by Tempo.

These are notable for being based on even more minimal information than the rest, featuring Matt Hunter and an adult Caucasian version of A.J. Foster, no Nick Burns and most featured GoBots being given vague descriptors rather than names.

There is no particular reading order, the following is the order the books were listed in on the back cover

Annuals[edit | edit source]

World's bread and butter by the eighties, the UK annual market consisted of A4 hardback books released every autumn with an eye on the Christmas market. Typically each was marked with the following year's date so stock could be sold until the next book was out the following autumn without being obviously out of date. The company produced two Annuals based on GoBots. Two editions were published, in 1985 and 1986.

Little Owl[edit | edit source]

A take-off of the wildly successful Ladybird Books cultural touchstone, these were small hardback books. The range covered nursery rhymes, public domain fables and factual books as well as licensed stories for the likes of Jem and the Holograms, M.A.S.K., Moon Dreamers, Gordon T. Gopher and, er, Rambo via the Little Owl Superstars sub-imprint. The range included four GoBots books, published in 1986

There is no particular reading order, the following is the order the books were listed in on the back cover

BHS Exclusive[edit | edit source]

A special compilation of Golden Books "War of the GoBots" and "GoBots on Earth", produced exclusively for sale in British Home Stores shops. Published in 1985, it is often mistaken for an annual due to being of a similar format. But it isn't.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • World Distributors are notorious among fans of the various properties they licensed for the poor quality of their output. Publications frequently featured obviously sourced art from a small sample of promotional material that was often recycled to the point of absurdity, minimal research, the use of irrelevant fact pages as padding and general lack of imagination. Their GoBots work is no exception.
  • The company's policy of penny-pinching, not crediting staff, punishing deadlines and incredibly low pay rates combined to produce a level of professional pride that makes the Challenge of the GoBots production team look like auteurs by comparison.
  • Despite the optimism of some second-hand book vendors the World Distributors GoBots books are worth slightly less than their original cover prices.