In a statement, Usborne Publishing said their founder and chairman was “in the truest sense of the word, a genius – his brilliance was matched only by his determination to make books accessible to all children.”
They added: “This determination was fuelled by his passion for ‘doing things better’ than any other children’s book publisher, matched with a child-like energy and curiosity that made him light up every room he stepped into.
“He was an exceptional publisher, an inspirational leader and a very kind, generous man who will be sorely missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.”
Mr Usborne’s daughter and managing director of Usborne Publishing, Nicola Usborne, said she was “heartbroken” by the death of her father.
Nicola described her dad as “brilliant, ever curious” and an “ever enthusiastic man, who was also very kind, very generous, and honourable and principled to his core”.
She said: “He was the best dad I could imagine. He always joked that he intended never to die, and we all hoped he’d have many more years.vWe take some solace in the fact that he had such a very full life right up until the end.”
She said on his final day he had had a “whole day meeting” with HarperCollins US. She added: “He never ever understood why anyone would want to retire, and he would have been so pleased that he never, even remotely, did.”
Peter is survived by his wife, Wendy, and children Nicola and Martin, and five grandchildren. As well as a publisher, Peter was the first managing director of Private Eye when it was launched in 1961.
Private Eye wrote on Twitter that Peter had been “the driving force” as well as a “proud and involved shareholder”. They added: “Usborne wasn’t just about business: it was also he who, while putting together a student mag at the end of the 1950s, introduced John Wells to Richard Ingrams and cartoonist Willie Rushton.”
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