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News stories from the book world in January 2008


Access to books

22 December 2008

Our Comment for this week is an extract from this year's Nobel Laureate for Literature's lecture, in which he extols the virtues of the book and urges everyone, publishers in particular, to do everything they can to extend its availability.  Read more

'Books are still plenty'

15 December 2008

Newspapers' book review sections are under pressure across the world. In the US the Los Angeles Times is just one of the papers which has cut its hugely respected book review section.  Read more

A torrid week in the book trade

8 December 2008

It's been a torrid week in the US and UK book trades, as destabilising staff cuts underline the poor situation in retail. In the most crucial two weeks of the trading year, the book trade is on tenterhooks about the outcome of Christmas. Will consumers spend their scarce resources on books?  Read more

Dragons and 'a sense of awe and wonder'

1 December 2008

Christopher Paolini is a publishing sensation to rival J K Rowling. In these difficult times his is an inspiring story of raw talent with a large dose of hard work and a dash of luck.   Read more

Publishers go for print on demand

24 November 2008

Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing has just announced that it is to launch its print on demand list, Random Collection, in January. It has been producing print on demand titles for a year and a half, but now has sufficient critical mass to see this as a separate list to be marketed as such.  Read more

'The storm clouds are gathering'

17 November 2008

'More Armageddon or Christmas is coming?' The book trade was anxious but not yet showing signs of the downturn. That was what we reported just a month ago in News Review 13 October. Now the storm clouds are gathering faster as the big western economies slip into recession.  Read more

Great price and great service

10 November 2008

Amazon's latest figures don't look all that good, as they too have been hit by the recession. They are projected to fall between $6 billion and $7 billion in the final quarter and their operating income could be down as much as 46%. This sounds alarming but it will probably just be a blip in the onward march of the giant Internet retailer.   Read more

Google settles copyright suit

3 November 2008

A ground-breaking agreement was reached in New York this week in the case of the Authors' Guild and the Association of American PublishersThe national trade association of the American book publishing industry; AAP has more than 300 members, including most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies v Google. Google will make payments totalling $125m.  Read more

The Booker goes global too

27 October 2008

The spectacle of meltdown in world banks and stock markets has meant that the Booker Prize has passed us by, but it's worth backtracking a little to look at this most international of prizes. It's odd that it should have such a global effect, as it's by no means the biggest or even the most prestigious of literary prizes.  Read more

The Frankfurt Book Fair goes global

20 October 2008

In the midst of all the gloom and doom, the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two. has been pretty much business as usual. Writing on the last day of the Fair, visitor figures are so far up 8.1% on last year, although there has been a slight drop in exhibitor numbers.   Read more

More Armageddon or Christmas is coming?

13 October 2008

Since News Review last looked at the global financial crisis three weeks ago (A week of Armageddon 22 September) the situation has deteriorated markedly and seems poised on a knife-edge. The financial crisis has tipped over into the rest of the economy and the interbank credit crunch has created such a panic that global recession is staring us in the face.  Read more

Do-it-yourself word definitions

29 September 2008

The launch of a new website which encourages everyone to upload videos of themselves delivering their own definitions of their favourite words could offer freedom from the dead hand of the past or be the last straw for pedants, depending on your point of view.   Read more