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.
The number of independent bookshops in the UK fell once again
last year, with nearly 50 high street bookshops closing in 2014. The number of indie members of the Booksellers Association
fell by 48 in 2014, to 939 indies. The 2013 figure (987) was a watershed
moment for the industry, as it was the first time since records began that
indie numbers had fallen below 1,000.
Kathy Settle has been announced as chief executive of the
Leadership for Libraries task force. Settle is currently director for digital policy and
departmental engagement in the Government Digital Service (GDS), part of
the Cabinet Office. She will begin the new role in April, while continuing
in her current role until late summer. The task force met for the first time earlier this month,
chaired by the chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Paul
Publishers should realise that the idea that authors are
writers coming up with stories in their garden shed is no longer true, says
Dylan Collins, c.e.o. of SuperAwesome, a digital company that bills itself
as the “biggest kids’ marketing platform in the world”.
The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is to launch a new
campaign aimed at bookshops during the London Book Fair. Called Authors for Bookstores, the campaign will launch at the
Indie Author Fringe Festival, which will be held on 17th April at Foyles’
Charing Cross Road flagship. ALLi founder and director Orna Ross (pictured)
said the organisation saw getting books into bookstores as “the next step
for indie authors”.
Oxford University Press has signed a host of book deals in the
run-up to the Bologna Book Fair, including titles by Joel Stewart and
Roland Chambers. OUP commissioning editor Peter Marley bought world rights Tiny Cops and Robbers,
by Stewart, who is an illustrator who has worked with Julia Donaldson and
Revenues at WH Smith Ireland jumped 66% to €19.29m (£14.1m) in
the year ending 31st August 2014 from €11.6m (£8.47m) for the same period
the year before. The Irish
Independent has seen accounts filed with the Companies
Registration Office in Ireland, which shows that despite the revenue rise,
pre-tax profits fell slightly from €1.54m (£1.12m) to €1.5m (£1.1m).
Penguin Random House has acquired The NOPI Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and
Ramael Scully. The collection of more than 120 recipes from Ottolenghi and
collaborator and NOPI head chef Scully will showcase the pair’s favourite
recipes from the celebrated central London restaurant.
Jens Bammel, secretary general of the International Publishers
Association (IPA), is to step down from his role. Bammel has led the IPA since 2003, but will step down ahead of
the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair.
Bloomsbury has signed Meg Rosoff's first novel for adults, a
romantic comedy set in New York. Helen Garnons-Williams, publishing director for fiction,
acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, at auction from
Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. Duck Zoo tells the story of Jonathan, his dogs
Dante and Sissy, and their vet Dr Clare, along with a wedding that feels
more like a funeral, an office job that feels like the ninth circle of hell
and a guardian angel named Greeley.
Author Tracy Chevalier is among six new people appointed to
the board of the British Library. Chevalier will serve a term of four years commencing on 1st
April. Other appointments to the board include Sir John Riblat, a
property developer; Dr Simon Thurley, an architectural historian; and
Professor Dame Helen Wallace, an officer of the British Academy. The final two new board members are Jonathan Callaway and
Martin Dickson. The appointments are made by the Secretary of State for
Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid.
Sixteen books have received an award in the latest round of
grants from English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme. The programme, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, gives grants to books
displaying outstanding literary merit. All books chosen for the programme
will be featured on the World Bookshelf website, which celebrates
contemporary international literature in translation.
Canongate has signed a book celebrating dogs of all shapes and
sizes by photographer Lynn Terry. Publishing director of non-fiction Katy Follain bought UK and
Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in a deal with Caspian Dennis at
Abner Stein. US rights went to Gallery Books after an eight-way auction. The book,
Tails from the Booth, began life a photography project to raise
money for local pit bull shelter. Terry takes photos of dogs inside a
vintage photo booth. When images from the project were put on website
Boredpanda, they were viewed 1.2m times.