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.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Latest news from The Bookseller incl. Hughes' widow issues 'final appeal' for apology & Zoella knocks Walliams off chart top spot
Vlogger Zoe “Zoella” Sugg’s second novel Girl Online: On Tour (Penguin)
has taken the Official Top 50 number one spot from David Walliams, in a
week that saw YouTubers dominate the top of the charts. The sequel to 2014’s Girl
Online (Penguin) sold 56,038 copies for £377,813 last week,
according to Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer Market, ending Walliams’ Grandpa’s Great Escape
(HarperCollins Children’s) four-week run at the top.
Following the row between HarperCollins and the Ted Hughes
Estate over Jonathan Bate's biography of the poet reported
last week, Hughes’ widow, Carol Hughes, has issued a “final appeal” for an
apology and corrections to mark the 17th anniversary of her husband’s death
(Wednesday 28th October).
Bertelsmann has acquired American e-learning business
RediLearning in a bid to strengthen its education business. The company’s education arm, Relias Learning, acquired the
online learning company but the sum paid has not been disclosed. RediLearning was founded in 2006 by Michael and Sally Hemlepp
and provides 400 online courses in the field of senior care, currently used
by approximately 120 customers in 48 US. states. Bertelsmann chairman and c.e.o Thomas Rabe said Relias would
continue to grow “organically and through acquisitions.”
Audiobooks are to be included in the FutureBook Awards for the
first time. Three shortlists will be announced in The Bookseller this
week, with the winning audio titles to be unveiled at the FutureBook
Conference (4th December).
Foyles is offering a same-day delivery service to all
addresses in central London in a new drive to be more competitive online
and serve Christmas demand. The mini-chain is also offering free UK 2nd class postage on
all online orders, along with a same day delivery service to addresses in
central London on orders placed before midday. For this same-day London
delivery service, Foyles is charging
£7.50 for the first book and £1 for every book after that.
Cassie Browne has been promoted from commissioning editor to
editorial director of The Borough Press. Her appointment follows the recent arrival of publishing
director, Suzie Dooré, who moved to Borough Press after 10 years at Hodder
& Stoughton to replace
Katie Espiner, who is now m.d. at Orion. Browne recently signed two new novels from Andrea
A “transformed” Waterstones Birmingham is to reopen in
November following refurbishment works to create “a flagship bookshop for
the Midlands.” The bookshop has been closed since 31st August to complete the
refit and will officially reopen on 14th November, with a new basement
floor to house the fiction department, a new floor dedicated to children’s
books, two cafés, a “striking” new shop front, comfortable seating, new
flooring and oak bookcases fitted throughout.
A story about a bobsledding team in the 1932 Winter Olympics,
three football titles, one cricket and one boxing book compete for the
William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. The shortlist features debut book Speed Kings by Andy Bull (Bantam Press) –
which marks the first book about bobsledding every to feature in the
William Hill awards shortlist. It tells the story of four unknown men who
took up the new event of bobsledding and went on to win gold in the 1932
Lake Placid Winter Olympics.
The funeral of Books Etc co-founder Philip Joseph will take
place at Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane, London NW11, at 11a.m. on
Sunday 1st November. Joseph passed away after a short illness on 25th October. A statement from his family said: "He lived more than 93
years with great energy and distinction and will be greatly missed in the
worlds of bookselling and publishing, croquet and rambling."
The Scottish Poetry Library is set to reopen to the public
tomorrow (29th October) following an “extensive” £380,000 renovation. The cabinet secretary for Europe, culture and external
affairs, Fiona Hyslop, will officially open the library alongside the
National Poet of Scotland, Liz Lochhead, today (28th October). The organisers said: “At a time when libraries are seen to be
under threat, the Scottish Poetry Library has taken the characteristically
bold step of expanding its space and facilities."
Preface Publishing has acquired M: The True Story of Maxwell
Knight, Britain’s Most Successful Spymaster by Henry
Hemming (pictured). Trevor Dolby, publisher of Preface, acquired UK and
Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Jonathan Conway of Jonathan
Conway Literary Agency. North American rights were acquired
simultaneously by Public Affairs.
Audible has commissioned a dramatization of Carmilla, a 19th
century gothic vampire novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, starring David
Tennant and Rose Leslie. The story, first published in 1872, pre-dates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over two
decades. The story is about 18-year old Laura (played by Leslie) as she
develops a deeply passionate friendship with a mysterious house-guest,
Carmilla (Phoebe Fox), who turns out to be a vampire. It is told through
the eyes of occult doctor Dr Martin Hesselius, who is played by Tennant.