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Posts Tagged ‘Katherine Rushton’

Publishing in China: Beijing Book Fair Leftovers

The Beijing Book Fair – the world’s fourth-largest after Frankfurt, London and BEA – just wrapped up yesterday and here are some notable highlights:

  • Penguin gets big money for Victoria Beckham‘s new style book from a Chinese publisher.[The Bookseller]
  • HarperCollins will distribute a travel guide published by China’s military just in time for the 2008 Olympics. [Forbes]
  • Macmillan hooks up with Chinese publisher FLTRP (Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press) for Chinese course guides. [The Bookseller]
  • Katherine Rushton (from whom we swiped the above photograph) blogs about the BIBF experience.
  • Germany was the guest of honor at BIBF. [CCTV]
  • An Indian perspective on BIBF. [Times of India]
  • Toby Eady: still the go-to agent for Chinese literature. [China.org.cn]
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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Tony Blair to Meet Publishers This Fall

Even though it’s highly likely that a memoir from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is years in the offing, that doesn’t mean there can’t be stories about every permutation and combination relating to such a possible step. To wit, the Bookseller’s Katherine Rushton reports that Blair will meet publishers in London at the start of October, together with Robert Barnett, the Washington lawyer he has instructed to sell his memoirs. Random House and HarperCollins are expected to make bids for the book, and Bloomsbury (in a partnership with Miramax) and Simon & Schuster have confirmed they are also entering the fray. Hachette is understood to have ruled itself out of the competition, although CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson declined to comment to the Bookseller.

As already speculated, Blair’s approach direct to the US is seen as an attempt to bag the biggest deal possible by capitalizing on his popularity there, Rushton explains. Securing Barnett, who won big money for Bill Clinton and Alan Greenspan advance-wise (and also represents James Patterson now) is also likely to inflate Blair’s advance. Rushton also has more in the Telegraph today about the pre-Frankfurt plan for Blair.

Egmont Guns for US Kids’ Market

Egmont is planning to launch a U.S. business next year following a move into third place in the UK children’s publisher league table, ahead of rivals Random House and HarperCollins, reports the Bookseller’s Katherine Rushton. “We are looking to develop a U.S. business, and we will look to establish a U.S. office early next year,” said group managing director Rob McMenemy. “That’s a big move for us.”

McMenemy highlighted the Lemony Snicket series and Nestle Prize-winning author Julia Golding as “significant contributors” to the company’s performance. The growth at Egmont Publishing was led by classic brands including the Thomas Story Library and Mr Men, and the acquisition of new licences for Bob the Builder and Lazy Town. Egmont recently launched a new research-based series fiction list, 2Heads.

Travel Publisher Plugs Guides Into Mobiles

The Bookseller’s Katherine Rushton reports that AA Publishing, a leading travel publisher in the UK, is launching a new series of interactive travel guides for use on triband mobile phones. The first title in the series, SMART TRAVELGUIDE: LONDON, will be released exclusively through Stanfords and WH Smith this month, ahead of the general launch in September. The Smart TravelGuides will be sold on memory cards that plug into 3G devices, and allow users to browse attractions by name or by proximity to the user. Each listing will be marked on a 1:10,000 scale map which has a GPS tracking function enabled by the national map agency Ordnance Survey.

Guides to a further 12 European cities and New York are planned for launch by next spring.

Random House UK to Sell Direct

The Bookseller’s Katherine Rushton reports that the Random House Group plans to start selling books directly from its website as early as next month, group m.d. Peter Bowron has confirmed. The move is the latest development in the publisher’s 5m pound digital investment program, which will also see “several thousand” RH backlist titles placed in a digital archive and a “significant number” made searchable online by the fourth quarter this year.

Bowron said the publisher would discount its books, but “not by much”, as it does not want to compete directly with booksellers. Digital director Fionnuala Duggan said that RH, which has long linked its site to Amazon, had decided “it was time for us to do it on our own”. “It’s not really any different from the customer’s point of view. From the trade point of view, it’s just a question of how we organise the fulfilment.” The RH archive will be in place at the end of this month, and will include all the company’s titles from the past two or three years, growing to “several thousand” later this year.

What Works There Doesn’t Here, and Vice Versa

Finally, the Bookseller addresses one of my all-time favorite pet issues of the publishing world: how is it that one book can be a phenomenal success in one country but tank elsewhere – or never get published at all? Think of, say, Richard Powers selling almost 300,000 copies of THE TIME OF OUR SINGING in Germany when before his National Book Award win he was selling in staunchly midlist literary fiction numbers. Or Martina Cole being the top-selling novelist in the UK for years on end, but she hadn’t been able to get a book deal in America until only very recently. Many of these disparities have to do with lack of global appeal (Cole was thought to be a tough sell based on her very Essex-centric voice) or foreign rights agents not being pumped up enough to sell certain properties over others, or the commensurate buying foreign houses not enthusiastic enough to buy. I could go on.

Katherine Rushton focuses her piece specifically on Diane Setterfield‘s THE THIRTEENTH TALE, a big success in the US (staying on the NYT list for weeks on end) but faring far less well in the UK. 14,000 copies sold is fine for a debut novel – but not one that Orion shelled out 800,000 pounds for. So what happened? Well, the Sesalee Hensley touch helped, as did Atria‘s non-stop marketing plan (it worked to earn out the $1 million-plus advance) and the jacket cover worked gangbusters in the US but didn’t go over in the UK, but the true key may be this: publishers point to the book’s romanticized portrayal of England as the key to its raging success in the US, and say that is also precisely what let it down in the UK.

“It encapsulated England in the way that only Americans think of England. Americans love that quintessential English writing, but it is quite mannered in a way,” says the publishing director of one major house. Chatto & Windus publisher Alison Samuel liked the manuscript but thought it was out of touch with real-life England. “There are two incidences towards the end where they drink cocoa. I haven’t drunk cocoa since I was a child. That picture of cocoa-drinking England only appeals outside England.” Or as another rival publisher put it: “It was pretty terrible. There was one review which was very fair and called it a ‘gothic stew’.”

Further down the piece really contrasts UK and American approaches, and prognosticates on the fortunes of Jonathan Littell‘s LES BIENVILLANTES, which will be out in 2008 from Chatto (UK) and HarperCollins (US): “It will do very well,” says one rival publisher. “Nazis sell.” But she predicts less of a take-up in the US. “The American [publishers] saw it as much smaller than we do because they thought it was too European, and it probably wouldn’t appeal to their Jewish audience.” Yeah, no wonder she wanted to be anonymous on that quote…