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Opus Media CEO Karl Fowler is showing some spine

Karl Fowler is the CEO of Opus Media, publisher of luxury collector’s item books that offer pictorial and written histories of icons from the world of sport and entertainment. The Enzo Diamante edition of its latest publication: The Official Ferrari Opus, is now available in the UAE for $250,000. Excerpts from our chat...

Karl Fowler
Image Credit: Supplied picture
Karl Fowler is the CEO of Opus Media.

What gave you the initial idea for the Opus concept?

I have long collected books and have always been interested in first editions of great stories of great people from history. I have a passion for photography, and my good friend, Zenon Texeira, whom I have known all my life – and who is a gifted photographer himself – is one of our Opus founders and now Creative Director.

We both wanted to create something special and bring some of these great stories to life, as it were, to tell them very differently. We knew that if we could raise the bar in the content integrity, then people would be interested, and we would then have a unique point of difference.

What titles have been the most popular so far?

Both Manchester United and Ferrari have sold well – Manchester United is actually sold out. Like all our Opus editions, both of these are strictly limited edition, so once we announce what the print run is, that’s it, there’s no turning back.

We would never dream of releasing a second or third edition. It has to be limited, otherwise there would be little integrity to the Opus name. We are striving to do justice to such iconic stories by telling them on this scale.

You must get to meet a lot of your heroes. Who has made you the most starstruck?

Yes, it’s true that the job does involve meeting and getting very close to some icons from sport or entertainment. A couple always stand out for me. Meeting Sir Bobby Charlton when we created the Official United Opus is a real memory and highlight. He signed all 10,000 Opus copies for us. He is a real gentleman. A class above the rest and a really lovely person to know.

I also remember when we agreed the Opus deal with the singer and star, Prince. I will never forget that night. We had supper at his house in LA, and after dinner he invited us downstairs into his basement, which was more like a nightclub, and he started performing for us – all his greatest hits. It was our own private performance to celebrate the signing of the Opus deal. It really is a truly awesome memory.

And of course there was the time we met the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. He was rehearsing for the This Is It tour at the time, and I remember his energy and presence was so strong when he entered the room. He was an amazing genius, yet so down to earth and easy to talk to once he felt comfortable with you. It was just such a shame he never got to see his finished Opus.

How much interest is there from UAE buyers for the Enzo Diamante edition of the Official Ferrari Opus, of which only 50 have been made?

Yes there is great interest in the UAE for the Diamante. I am very confident it will be sold on the night with our good friends at Harvey Nichols here in Dubai. Not only will the buyer receive the only one available in the UAE, but they will also get one of our Opus for Life memberships, which entitles him or her to complimentary copies of our entire Opus collection to date and then for life. This is included in the price, so it’s an even more unique and long-lasting valued investment!

The Opus books are monumentally big. Where do you suggest that people keep them if their book shelf is too small?

Many people have created specific rooms to house their Opus collections, or they have them in their office. Some see them as treasures and put them away, only bringing them out for very special occasions. We also offer storage facilities for those people who don’t have space, but want to keep them for different occasions.

The form

IF I wasn’t doing this I’d be: working in a biscuit factory

People who’ve had a big influence on my life are: my mum and dad

A fictional character after my own heart: Pass

A word or expression that I use a lot: The business you don’t do is more important than the business you do do

Stuff that I always travel with: my Moleskin notepad and pen