Publishing Round-Up: 17th October 2016.

Bob Dylan wins Nobel prize in literature 

‘US singer Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first songwriter to win the prestigious award.

The 75-year-old rock legend received the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

The balladeer, artist and actor is the first American to win since novelist Toni Morrison in 1993.’

Read more about the prize here.

HarperCollins to offer indie bookshops £2k grants

‘HarperCollins has launched an Independent Bookshop Initiative 2017 – a campaign to support new and existing independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.

The initiative was announced by group sales director, Oliver Wright at a special “HarperCollins’ Indie Thinking” evening on 13th October at The News Building in London Bridge.

The campaign this year includes an Indie Start-Up Grant, which will provide incremental support at launch to new and growing independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland, offering an additional 10% discount on all store opening orders; and an Indie Development Fund, which offers independent bookshops the chance to receive funding for projects that grow community access to books and reading, with 10 individual awards of £2,000 on offer. HarperCollins authors Jon McGregor and Jo Cannon, alongside Oliver Wright and Michael Jones from the HarperCollins sales team, will judge the entries.’

Read more about the grants here.

HC launches ‘publisher agnostic’ online events platform

‘HarperCollins has launched BookGig, a “publisher agnostic” online events platform that aims to connect authors with new and existing readers following the growth in live author events.

The website features author events across the UK, giving details of talks, signings, Q&A sessions, readings and hands-on workshops. It showcases events from all “major” booksellers, over 500 independent retailers, all publishing houses and over 250 literary festivals, as well as libraries, museums and other venues.’

Read more about the platform here.

Sales and footfall up for first Bookshop Day

‘Bookshops have reported higher footfall and sales for the UK’s first Bookshop Day on Saturday (8th October), which involved events with high profile authors, illustrators in residence and customers reading in bookshop windows.

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath hosted Lizzy Stewart as an ‘illustrator in residence‘, coinciding with Bath Children’s Literature Festival (illustration by Lizzy Stewart right).

Edward Scotland from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, said the shop was “inundated” with customers on Saturday and sales were “definitely up”.

“We were rushed off our feet on Saturday, we were inundated,” he said. “A lot of the first few people through the door wished us a happy Bookshop Day. Like all these things, not all our customers were aware it may take a while to take off, but if it gains the traction of Record Store Day, where you hear reports of people are queuing to get into stores before they even open, we are definitely up for that.”’

Read more about the day here.

David Szalay wins Gordon Burn Prize 2016

‘David Szalay has won the £5,000 Gordon Burn Prize 2016 for All That Man Is, a collection of nine linked short stories published by Vintage imprint Jonathan Cape.

Szalay was announced as the winner of the prize at a special event at Durham Book Festival, a Durham County Council festival produced by New Writing North, on Friday evening (7th October).

His winning collection, also shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, was praised by the judges, novelists Jenn Ashworth and William Boyd, journalist and writer Rachel Cooke, and the artist and author Harland Miller, as “a really remarkable novel”. The stories span Europe, from the suburbs of Prague to a cheap Cypriot hotel, and the experiences of nine men at different stages of life, as a portrait of 21st century manhood.’

Read more about the prize here.

WHS book sales down 2% despite boost from Zoella

‘WH Smith saw strong sales from its Zoella Book Club launch over summer, but general book sales were down 2% like-for-like for the retailer in the year ending 31st August 2016.

The company posted its annual financial results this morning (13th October) revealing that group sales were up 3% to £1.21bn over the last year, while like-for-like sales rose 1%. At the same time, the group achieved an 8% rise in pre-tax profit to £131m and announced it would buy a further £50m in shares from investors after completing a £50m share buyback programme.

In books, WH Smith reported it had seen “good” sales from its Zoella Book Club launched in June, which the company said “strengthens our recommendation credentials which is key for WH Smith books customers in both Travel and High Street,” alongside book clubs with Richard and Judy and its Fresh Talent promotion. However, despite the boost from Zoella’s book club, book sales at retailer were still down by 2% like-for-like.’

Read more about WH Smith’s performance here.

US debut writer wins gold dagger at UK’s top crime writing awards

‘First-time American novelist Bill Beverly has won the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year.

Beverly’s Dodgers, about a man who works for an LA drugs organisation and who is sent to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin by his boss, beat Christopher Brookmyre’s award-winning novel Black Widow, as well as titles by Denise Mina and Mick Herron, to win the CWA’s top prize last night. Beverly, who teaches American literature and writing in Washington DC’s Trinity University, and who turned his research on criminal fugitives into the book On the Lam, is a first-time novelist, and also won the CWA’s John Creasey New Blood Dagger, for the best debut crime novel, last night.’

Read more about CWA here.

Publisher Liberties Press admits owing money to authors

‘Liberties Press, which has published books by President Michael D Higgins, the late taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, has admitted it owes money to many of its authors and former staff.

Its owner Seán O’Keeffe came in for heavy criticism from writers when The Irish Times reported last week that he was charging unpublished authors €100 each to read their manuscripts.

After that report, 11 Liberties Press authors and three former staff contacted the newspaper to say they had not been paid the money due to them under the terms of their contract.

Mr O’Keeffe has now apologised for failing to pay advances and royalties to his authors. He also acknowledged that three former members of staff who left this year had not been paid their full wages. “This is a situation I am sorry about and I am addressing,” he said.’

Read more about Liberties Press here.



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