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Posts Tagged ‘Alison Bone’

How Retailers Are Handling the Booker Prize

The reaction to the Booker Prize longlist has been, shall we say, rather muted. “Too many unknowns,” some grumble, though others welcome the lack of bestsellers and notable names. But what does this mean for the high street? The Bookseller’s Alison Bone endeavors to find out in the wake of a recent survey of retailers by the Man Booker Prize people. In a presentation to longlisted publishers on Thursday, the Booker Prize’s organisers–including administrator Ion Trewin and marketing consultant Gordon Kerr–outlined the results of industry research into the status and impact of the prize.

Kerr said that every single retailer interviewed during the course of the research raised the issue of availability of shortlisted titles. Prize administrator Ion Trewin agreed. “We don’t want a repeat of a couple of years ago when for two weeks two of the books were not available. It seems such a waste given the massive amount of publicity,” he said. Kerr believes that having a shorter longlist will help publishers prepare themselves for reprints on shortlisted titles. Other retailers brought up the notion of receiving advance word provided they sign confidentiality letters, a notion that intrigued both Trewin and Kerr.

And what of the supermarkets, so critical for the UK’s book industry now? This year’s prize will see Tesco promote the shortlist in its stores for the first time, publishers were told. Tesco’s instore shortlist marketing is likely to run alongside a website promotion and targeted emails, backed by co-operative press advertising. Category manager David Cooke said: “We’ve never really supported the Booker, so whatever we do will be a step forward.” And at Asda, books buyer Steph Bateson is also considering whether to stock the entire shortlist. “It’s an opportunity for those customers who may be intimidated by going into a Waterstone’s, or maybe haven’t even heard of the Booker,” she said.

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OFT mulls Pearson’s Harcourt buy

The Bookseller’s Alison Bone reports that the Office of Fair Trading is considering whether Pearson Education‘s $950 million acquisition of Harcourt Education from Reed Elsevier will result in “a substantial lessening of competition” in the UK’s educational publishing market. The deal, unveiled in May, gives Pearson Education about 23% of the UK schools market, more than former market leaders Oxford University Press and Nelson Thornes.

The OFT is asking for representations from interested parties by 4th July. If it finds the deal has created a “relevant merger situation”, it will then consider whether the deal could “result in a substantial lessening of competition” in the UK, and if it should be referred to the Competition Commission for further investigation.

Hodder Headline Drops Name, Reorganizes

The Bookseller’s Alison Bone reports that Hachette Livre UK is to drop the Hodder Headline name from August, in a raft of changes intended to simplify the publishing group’s structure. The changes will also see Hachette Children’s Books, Headline, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Education and John Murray reporting directly to Hachette Livre UK, rather than to Hodder Headline as they currently do.

Hodder Headline’s name dates to 1993 when Headline and Hodder & Stoughton merged. The legal entity Hodder Headline Limited will continue to trade, but with its name changed to HLUK (Euston Road) Limited, a name which will not generally be used in external communications. Hachette stressed that no author, employee or supplier contracts would be affected by the changes, that no job losses are involved, and that the Headline and Hodder publishing businesses would continue to operate separately.

As a result, many internal changes and promotions are in effect. Martin Neild, currently Hodder Headline m.d., becomes CEO of Hodder & Stoughton and John Murray, in addition to his role as m.d. of Headline. Hodder m.d. Jamie Hodder-Williams, who is joining the board of Hachette Livre UK with immediate effect, will continue to report to him, as will John Murray m.d. Roland Philipps, and Headline deputy m.d.s Kerr Macrae and Jane Morpeth. Hachette Livre UK commercial director Richard Kitson is also joining the board with immediate effect.

Davies Snared By Canongate

The Bookseller’s Alison Bone reported yesterday that Hodder & Stoughton publisher Nick Davies has been tempted away by Canongate to be its new editorial director, replacing Anya Serota, who has been promoted to publishing director. Davies, who begins at Canongate on September 4, said that he had not been looking to leave Hodder, “but the job that Jamie and Anya have asked me to do is just too tempting”. At Hodder, Davies focused primarily on non-fiction titles, publishing books by authors including Billie Piper, Iain Johnstone and Simon Reid-Henry.

Harper UK Goes for the Personal Touch

HarperCollins Children’s Books is moving into personalized books through a new partnership with Penwizard, which will enable children to star in books alongside well-known children’s characters like Noddy beginning this August, according to the Bookseller’s Alison Bone. HC will then look to develop the Penwizard partnership across its range of children’s properties, with licensor approval. Managing director Amanda Ridout said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to expanding the boundaries of traditional publishing we are proud to be first to market with a leap forward in personalized publishing.”

Highlights of the BA Conference

If you missed out on the Booksellers Association‘s annual Conference in Harrogate, Publishing News has the lowdown in a big way:

Dateline LBF: Making Global Sense of it

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The New York Times' Alan Riding has been at LBF all week and seems, at least for the purposes of this article, to have a golly-gee approach to the trade show that’s less about celebrating books, he says, and more about “the art of the deal.” And even though the mood is optimistic and lots of agents are getting face time with publishers and their foreign rights crew, the consensus is that, well, there is no consensus book. “You won’t get a ‘book of the fair”as you did 10 or 15 years ago,” said Tom Weldon, managing director at Penguin General, one of Penguin’s divisions. “With the Internet and all the other information that is out there, you no longer get huge deals here. The hard work is about foreign rights and exports.”

Meanwhile, National Book Critics Circle president John Freeman has been filing dispatches from LBF for the NBCC blog (full disclosure: I’m a member) where he reports on Monday’s panel with John Banville and what books are about to be released in the UK this fall, which Freeman finds to be “sort of useful since England’s publishing schedules tend to be a bit ahead of America’s — and they’re packed.”

And over at the Bookseller, Alison Bone reports that UK trade publishers are using the platform of the London Book Fair to make a definitive stance on territorial copyright, with editors pushing hard for world rights deals or if need be, UK/Commonwealth with Canada excluded. “I think it’s a necessary trade-off,” said Picador publisher Andrew Kidd, who has just bought UK and Commonwealth excluding Canada rights for BREATH by Tim Winton. “Ultimately, having European exclusivity is about protecting our own territory–and that’s the most important thing.” But Association of Authors’ Agents president Clare Alexander said some publishers are not good at handling world rights. “It’s a simple ‘solution’ for publishers to control everything but it may not be the right answer,” she said, adding that a policy of exchanging Europe for Canada is “extremely insulting to the Canadians”.