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.
HarperCollins UK has concluded what its chief executive
Charlie Redmayne described as “tough negotiations” with Amazon over new
terms. The publisher is the latest of the original agency publishers to
negotiate new arrangements after its revised agency contract came up for
renewal. Redmayne would not be drawn on the nature of the deal, or if
it was a return to full agency. He said: “I am confident that we secured
the best deal that we could possibly have got: we negotiated hard and long
to make sure that was the case. It’s the best deal we could have done.”
The proposed rise in the Minimum Wage announced by chancellor
George Osborne in his recent budget will “hit indies hardest”, booksellers
have said. Osborne said the Minimum Wage for people aged 25 and over
would rise to £7.20 per hour in April 2016 (it is currently £6.50 per hour
for those aged 21 or over) in what he described as the “new living wage”.
That figure will rise to “over £9” per hour by 2020.
Pearson has confirmed that it is in talks to sell The
Economist Group. The company said it is “in discussions” with the board of The
Economist Group and with trustees regarding sale of its 50% share. “There is no certainty that this process will lead to a
transaction,” said a statement from Pearson. The company said it would make
further announcements “if and when appropriate”.
Boris Johnson is to write a biography of William Shakespeare
for Hodder & Stoughton for October 2016. The publisher has confirmed the deal, which was reported in
the Sunday Times
to have been done for £500,000. The newspaper reported that Johnson’s
advance was almost seven times his salary as an MP, which is £74,000. Last year Johnson authored a biography of Winston Churchill, The Churchill Factor,
for Hodder. It has sold 187,568 copies through Nielsen BookScan, for a
value of just over £2.6m so far.
Jane Furze is to step down as literature festival director for
the Cheltenham Literature Festival after four years in the post. A statement from the board of Cheltenham Festivals said it was
announcing the news “sadly”. Furze said she was leaving to “allow myself some time out”.
She will step down from the post on 30th September, just ahead of this
year's festival, which takes place from 2nd to 11th October. The statement from the board said that she had made a
“significant contribution” to the development of the festival.
Children’s publisher Nosy Crow will from September host a
number of evening events dedicated to illustration.
The first Nosy Crow Illustrator Salon will feature Steven Lenton,
illustrator of the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam picture books, written
by Tracy Corderoy, on the 14th September. Nosy Crow m.d. Kate Wilson will
interview Lenton before opening the questions up to the audience.
Maximum Pop!, a pop music site for 14-21 year olds, has
launched a dedicated channel for YA books. The company has hired a full-time books editor, former YA
blogger Laura Fulton, to run the books area of
the site and already has more than 4,000 followers of its twitter account
@maximumpopbooks. Publisher Olly Meakings said he decided to launch a books
channel after trialling book content in 2014.
Aardvark Bureau has acquired a “chilling” new novel by Charles
Lambert. Publisher-at-large Scott Pack bought UK and British
Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to The Children’s Home and one other novel, Prodigal, from Isobel
Dixon of Blake Friedmann. Pack published Lambert’s memoir With a Zero at its Heart at
HarperCollins’ The Friday Project.
Hachette has three titles on the Bloody Scotland Crime Book of
the Year shortlist, while Pan Macmillan has two.
From Pan Mac comes Lin Anderson’s Paths
of the Dead, in which forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod
investigating a murder in spiritualist and Druidic circles, and Ann
Cleeves’ Thin Air,
which follows a group of old university friends reuniting in Shetland for a
wedding when one of them disappears.
Orion has acquired three new books by Linwood Barclay. Deputy publishing director Bill Massey bought UK and
Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to the thrillers from Helen Heller
at The Helen Heller Agency. The first book from the new deal will be published in
September 2017. Before that, Orion will publish three novels set in Promise
Falls, a small New England town that has featured in previous titles by
Barclay, over 18 months, beginning with Broken
Promise in hardcover in September 2015.
A television drama based on the lives of the Bloomsbury set,
including author Virginia Woolf, starts tonight (Monday 27th July) on BBC2
"Life in Squares", a three-part drama, explores the relationships
between Woolf and her husband Leonard Woolf, and their artistic and
intellectual friends, including the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant,
authors E M Forster and David "Bunny" Garnett, art critics Roger
Fry and Clive Bell, the biographer Lytton Strachey and the economist John