Sep 20, 2022
The 21,450-page volume of manga series One Piece is physically unreadable, to highlight how comics now exist as commodities
A limited edition single volume of the long-running manga One Piece is being billed as the longest book in existence.
At 21,450 pages, it is physically impossible to read, making it less of a book and more of a sculpture. Continue reading...
Aug 09, 2022
Technical difficulties have led to backlog of unfulfilled orders and stock shortages in store for the bookshop chain
High street bookshop chain Waterstones has said it is working hard to shift a backlog of unfulfilled orders after a problem with warehouse technical systems led to stock shortages.
The retailer, which has more than 300 stores across the UK, upgraded to a new system called Blue Yonder several weeks ago, but it has been struggling to get stock out to shops and fulfil customer orders. Continue reading...
Jul 12, 2022
Contestants will enter a writers’ retreat and be given 30 days to write a novel while completing ‘live-wire’ challenges
Reality TV producers have exhausted singers, dancers, drag artists, potters, tailors, and beautiful young people hoping to find love. Now, it seems, the spotlight has fallen on writers. This week, a call has appeared on social media for contestants to apply to be on the pilot of a new show called America’s Next Great Author (ANGA).
Billed as “the groundbreaking reality TV show for writers”, ANGA will give its contestants one minute to pitch their novels to a panel of judges that includes New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds, Fox5 TV presenter Angie Goff, and stage writer and comedian Marga Gomez. Continue reading...
Jun 10, 2022
Coffee company announces ‘difficult decision’ to end the prizes, sparking a chorus of disappointment across the books industry
The Costa book awards, after running for half a century, have been abruptly scrapped. The coffee shop chain has said the 2021 awards, which were announced in February this year, were the last.
In a statement from the company, which is owned by Coca-Cola, Costa’s CEO Jill McDonald said: “After 50 years of celebrating some of the most enjoyable books written by hugely talented authors from across the UK and Ireland, Costa Coffee has taken the difficult decision to end the book awards.” Continue reading...
Apr 21, 2022
The social media platform was a surprise driver for new and older books as sales rose 5% for print and digital
UK publishing’s total income reached a new high of £6.7bn in 2021, up 5% from 2020. This growth comes despite – or perhaps because of – the pandemic, with the social media platform TikTok emerging as a surprise driving force not only for new books, but backlist purchases.
While the Covid lockdowns forced bookshops to close and subsequent supply chain issues caused delays and headaches for publishers, the appetite for reading soared, with sales up by 5% year on year for both print and digital books, while audiobooks continued the “stellar” performance of recent years with a 14% rise in sales, according to a report from the Publishers Association. Continue reading...
Mar 14, 2022
With bidding still open, fundraiser whose lots include the chance to appear in books by Lenny Henry and Peter James and lunch with Jeremy Bowen has raised £37,000
An auction of signed books, experiences and mentoring sessions from the British literary community to raise money for Ukraine has raised £37,000 in its first week.
Lots include lunch at the Ritz with Pillars of the Earth author Ken Follett, the chance to name characters in new books coming from crime writer Peter James and comedian Lenny Henry, a signed, limited edition of Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl’s memoir, and a 1945 first edition of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love. Douglas Stuart is offering two tickets to the launch event in April for his new novel, Young Mungo, along with a signed, dedicated first edition of the novel, his hotly anticipated follow-up to his 2020 Booker prize-winning debut, Shuggie Bain. Continue reading...
Mar 02, 2022
Capitalism and Slavery, by the future first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago Eric Williams, argues that the abolition of slavery was motivated by economic, not moral, concerns
A book of unpalatable truths about Britain’s slave trade has become a UK bestseller, almost 80 years after author Eric Williams was told by a British publisher: “I would never publish such a book, for it would be contrary to the British tradition.”
Capitalism and Slavery was first published in the US in 1944. It was published in the UK by the independent publisher André Deutsch in 1964, with a number of reprints over the next 20 years. Continue reading...
Dec 21, 2021
Continuing our series of Guardian writers revealing their most memorable gift books, David Barnett remembers how Usborne’s The World of the Unknown: Ghosts scared him for years
- Please share your most memorable bookish presents below and we will publish a selection later this week
Christmas when I was a child was always about Event Books. Not paperback novels; those would be bought after Christmas with the book tokens I always received both on the big day and for my January birthday, feasting on the gems in the January sale at Smiths in Wigan – not WH, but an independent, family-owned bookshop.
But under the tree would be big rectangular packages – the requisite comic book annuals, of course, and occasionally the Guinness Book of Records, but also a big old hardback book, often obtained cheap from remaindered shops, obscure volumes of science fiction or fantasy art with a nominal narrative thread loosely connecting the images, or Reader’s Digest explorations of uncanny phenomena. Continue reading...
Dec 20, 2021
Wells’s novel Network Effect takes top science fiction award, the sixth successive win for a woman in what was once an almost exclusively male honour roll
The Hugo awards for science fiction and fantasy have been dominated once again by women, with American writer Martha Wells taking the top prize for best novel.
Wells took two accolades at what is considered the most prestigious awards ceremony in the science fiction calendar, winning best novel for Network Effect and best series for The Murderbot Diaries. Network Effect and its predecessors follow the adventures of a sentient killing machine known as Murderbot, which develops human traits and would rather make friends and watch TV soaps than fulfil its programming. Wells’ latest novel sees Murderbot intervening between warring factions of alien-controlled humans on a distant colony world. Continue reading...
Jun 07, 2021
On the 25th anniversary of her death, the novelist Jan, who was free-spirited and self-destructive like her father, has almost been entirely erased from his story
The King of the Beats, Jack Kerouac, was renowned for laying bare his life in more than a dozen roman a clef novels, his most famous being On the Road, which documented the birth, rise and final days of an enduring counterculture.
But while larger-than-life characters such as Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady wandered in and out of Kerouac’s works under a variety of pseudonyms, one important figure in the writer’s life is conspicuously absent: his daughter, Jan Kerouac, who died 25 years ago this week. Continue reading...
Apr 28, 2021
Whether it is Orhan Pamuk’s love-struck Museum of Innocence, Donna Tartt’s bombing in a New York gallery, or the case of a curator who turned to crime, museums are home to fascinating stories
Museums are the perfect backdrops for fiction of pretty much any kind. Archives of the past, repositories of secrets, windows on to worlds and people long disappeared: museums are storehouses of stories. Cursed horrors lurk in dusty vaults, thrilling mysteries can be solved, magic can be woven from pieces of the past. Behind every piece of pottery or scrap of fabric, there lies a human life lived out long ago.
In my latest novel The Handover, two security guards at the fictional Manchester Museum of Social History are literal custodians of the past. But they find that the past is not immutable, and realise that challenging it can make for a better future. But Daisy and Nate are by no means the first characters to have their stories played out in a museum – here are some of my favourites. Continue reading...
Jan 27, 2021
The standup won a book deal after an idle tweet. Two books later, his love for publishing was over. He talks about why he’s persisting with the third book in his scifi trilogy
A decade ago, a bored tweet landed standup comedian and singer Mitch Benn a book deal. What made him lose another isn’t quite so clear.
“I am a big, shambling doofus,” says Benn, a fixture on TV and radio, especially BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show. “It’s quite possible somewhere along the line I said the wrong thing to the wrong person, I don’t bloody know.” Continue reading...
Jan 19, 2021
A pioneering novelist, she was also a passionate publisher, highlighting voices neglected by the mainstream. My life was one of many changed by her enthusiasm
Storm Constantine, the fantasy author and book publisher who has died at the age of 64, was a prolific novelist and short-story writer. Her work, dealing deeply with gender and sexual politics, was far ahead of its time.
Constantine came to prominence with her 1987 novel The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, which introduced her androgynous Wraeththu race and spawned two sequels, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire. In a 2016 interview with the writer and editor Nerine Dorman, Constantine said of her bestselling series: “Wraeththu are simply how the human race would be if I could design it myself; androgynous, beautiful (mostly), magical and housed in a more efficient vehicle of flesh and blood.” Continue reading...
Dec 08, 2020
The crowdfunding platform has boomed in the year of coronavirus, with indie mavericks joined by Hollywood royalty
Comics have had a record-breaking year on Kickstarter. By October this year, backers had pledged $22m (£16.5m) to comics projects, up from $17m by the same point in 2019. Since the platform began in 2009, Kickstarter has funded 10,000 comic book projects, to the tune of $127m. With Marvel and DC putting out around 850 individual issues this year between them, that makes Kickstarter far and away the single most prolific publishing platform for comics in the world.
That even actor Keanu Reeves is dipping his toe into Kickstarter, raising $1.45m (£1m) for his comic BRZRKR, created with Matt Kindt and Ron Garney for Boom!, is indicative of a quiet revolution in the medium, one that is now posing a challenge to traditional publishing models. Continue reading...
Nov 01, 2020
Novelist David Barnett talks to some of the famous names who got started by joining the nationwide creative drive – and offers his hints for success
If everyone has a book in them, then November is the month that many of those books are conceived. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, comes of age this year with its 21st birthday, and the concept remains as simple as it was in 1999: over 30 days, write at least 50,000 words of your novel.
Almost 368,000 novels have been completed by participants. There are no prizes or league tables, just the satisfaction of taking part – and the potential creation of something publishable. Continue reading...
Oct 22, 2020
We know the heyday of the ghost story mostly as the province of men like MR James and Charles Dickens. But archivists are finding that some of the finest exponents were women
As we drift into the season of mists, many of us may cosy up with a ghost story or two. But who are the best known authors behind the classics, who plied their chilling trade in the Victorian and Edwardian eras? There are the usual suspects: MR James, Charles Dickens, William Hope Hodgson, Sheridan Le Fanu, Algernon Blackwood, Wilkie Collins. But what of Mary E Wilkins Freeman? Evelyn Henty? Olive Harper? Elinor Mordaunt? Lettice Galbraith? BM Croker?
That most of us won’t recognise these names is no accident: these women ghost-story writers were effectively erased from history over the last century. But thanks to the often painstaking detective work of a handful of dedicated anthologists, the balance is being restored in spooky tales. Continue reading...
Jul 20, 2020
Author Mark Dawson has attracted criticism after bulk buying his own book gave him a high chart position. But that isn’t breaking any rules
For any author, being able to describe yourself as a bona fide bestseller is key to conferring your career with a certain gravitas – and will often bring you even more sales. In the UK, while most book charts are tallied by Nielsen BookScan, the Sunday Times bestseller list – like the New York Times chart in the US – has become the gold standard. But making the bestseller list isn’t necessarily as straightforward as tallying sales. Not all is fair in romance and war (and other genres) when it comes to getting to the top of the charts.
Take the case of Mark Dawson, a British writer who just over a week ago hit No 8 on the Sunday Times hardback list with his thriller The Cleaner, released by the independent publisher Welbeck at the end of June. This is a great achievement for any author or small publishing house, but Dawson had done something remarkable: he bought 400 copies of his own book, at a cost of £3,600, to push his sales high enough to make the top 10. Continue reading...