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News stories from the book world in January 2006


Publishers regret high risk celebrity memoirs

18 December 2006

This autumn celebrity books have been hot news in the British publishing world. Five stars had advances of over £1million - TV personality Terry Wogan, Big Brother winner Pete Bennett, singer Gary Barlow, actor Rupert Everett and comedian Peter Kay.  Read more

Chinese writer's story collection triumphs

11 December 2006

Last week the Guardian First Book Award gave a major boost to short stories by awarding this year's prize to the Chinese writer Yiyun Li's collection A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. The Award, which was established in 1999, rewards the finest new literary talent with a £10,000 ($19,550) prize and, uniquely, is open to writing across all genres.  Read more

Children's writers flourish

4 December 2006

Children's publishing continues to thrive and new names are emerging every day. The Harry Potter effect has seen publishing firms bringing a new commercial focus to children's publishing and big money is now involved, with all the competitive strains that brings.  Read more

'Covered in blood' - O J Simpson's 'confession'

27 November 2006

The extraordinary saga of O J Simpson's confessional book If I Did It, Here's How It Happened has reverberated around the media world, showing that, even in these ruthlessly commercial times, there are things that people will not stomach.  Read more

Blackwell and Readers Digest sold

20 November 2006

Mergers and further conglomeratisation are shaking the foundations of the international publishing world, as the book trade continues to become more like other businesses, and is similarly affected by globalisation.   Read more

The audio revolution

13 November 2006

The recent Bookseller seminar on audiobooks highlighted rapid changes and huge potential in what has often been seen as a backwater of the publishing world. The seminar's chairman Damian Horner called audio 'the runt end' of publishing.  Read more

Hill & Hill scam

6 November 2006

The recent online kerfuffle surrounding agency Hill & Hill in Edinburgh has pointed up yet again the need for writers to be extremely cautious about approaching agents. Hill & Hill, now defunct, had apparently perfected their scam over a number of years.  Read more

Creative Commons provides a tasty snack

30 October 2006

A Creative Commons license has worked well for the Friday Project on Tom Reynolds' Blood, Sweat and Tea. The publishers put most the book on their website as a free download, leading to 20,000 downloads but sales of nearly 30,000 copies.   Read more

Is the Sobol Award shady?

16 October 2006

The story of the Sobol Award provides a warning for unpublished writers of the dangers of being too gullible. The award, which closes on 31 December 2006, is open to all unpublished novelists who do not have a literary agent.  Read more

Frankfurt powers on

9 October 2006

Last week saw the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., the giant publishers' convention which is the world's largest book fair. Around 280,000 people (including many members of the German public), and 7,200 exhibitors from 100 countries went to Frankfurt, using the Fair to showcase more than 380,000 books.  Read more

Orlando's dream

2 October 2006

As a teenager growing up in Brazil in the late seventies, Orlando Paes Filho was nothing if not ambitious about his writing. He dreamt up the idea of Angus, now coming to fruition as a seven-volume epic tale spanning twelve centuries of human history. Whilst developing a career in advertising, the author continued to work on his series idea for the next 25 years.  Read more

Promoting Oxfam's bookshop bonanza on the web

25 September 2006

A new phenomenon which is closely linked to the rise of the second-hand book trade is the way that charities have now developed the concept of specialist bookshops and are using them as a major way of generating funds. In the UK Oxfam runs 112 bookstores and sells more than one million books each month.  Read more