Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Poor sales for star-free Booker shortlist A day ahead of the final verdict, figures register little excitement among book buyers Alison Flood writing in guardian.co.uk, Monday October 13 2008
The day before the Booker winner is announced, Linda Grant's The Clothes on Their Backs has emerged as the top-selling shortlist title, though sales of the 2008 Booker shortlist are well down on last year's showing.
As was widely reported, Katie Price's ghosted novel Crystal (159,407 copies sold as of last September) comfortably outsold 2007's entire Booker shortlist ahead of the prizegiving (120,770 books).
This year the lifetime figures for the six shortlisted titles are 32,342 - less than this year's edition of the Guinness World Records achieved in a week.
Judges, chaired by Michael Portillo, have described this year's shortlist as "intensely readable" and "page-turning", but this doesn't seem to be an opinion shared by many book buyers.
Grant's The Clothes on their Backs, about a young woman's fascination with the black sheep of her family, has sold 3,074 copies in the four weeks since the shortlist announcement, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan - considerably more than second placed Aravind Adiga, whose The White Tiger has racked up 2,588 sales since the announcement on September 9.