Big money elsewhere
I was saying last week that the idea of there being big money in books is more illusory than real, and here's a reminder.
Jonathan Ross -- a strictly UK-famous media person -- recently negotiated an £18 million contract with the BBC. And he isn't worth it, says Anita Land, a leading show-business and media agent.
Anita gets a bit of a spread in the Times. But there is, reportedly, more provocative stuff along the same lines in Shooting Stars: A Collection of Essays, Rants and Musings on Talent and TV . I'd like to give you a link to that book, which the Times says is published by UKTV, but I find it absolutely untraceable -- at any rate within the time that I'm prepared to devote to it.
Ghosting is the life for me
Back in June, I wrote a piece pointing out the many advantages of being a ghostwriter -- always provided you have the skills required. And now the Scotsman proves the point, with some success stories and details of the income earned. (Link from booktrade.info.)
Does Amazon need books?
The Sunday Times -- in an article about booming online sales in the UK -- quotes Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, to the effect that the market in watches and jewellery is worth $50 billion (£26.5 billion) in America, which is twice the size of the book market. And now Amazon.co.uk have started to sell watches.
True talent will out
John Banville won the Booker prize last year with a novel called The Sea. I've never even seen a copy, much less read it, but it was, I think it is fair to say, widely regarded as a rather dull read. Even one reviewer who liked it was forced to admit that 'Critics, from the established media and the blogosphere alike, seemed united in their distaste for this novel, deeming it unworthy (and in some cases unreadable) for the UK's most prestigious literary award.' The Amazon reader reviews were also far from totally enthusiastic.
When asked what he would spend the Booker money on, Banville replied, 'Good work and strong drink.' Well, it appears he's done the former.
It's not a secret that John Banville is the writer behind the Benjamin Black pseudonym, and under that name Banville has written a crime novel called Christine Falls. According to Marcel Berlins in last Saturday's Times, this 'succeeds sensationally'. The online link to the review doesn't seem to work, so you'll just have to take my word for it. But the publisher tells you quite a lot about the book, with a link to some other reviews.
A present for a very blokey sort of bloke
It's well known that many men have a taste for mechanical things, cars, cameras, and all like that. So here's news of a suitable Christmas present for one such bloke. It's a bit pricey, but if he's special, why not? If he isn't special, the usual two bottles of beer will have to do.
The Quantuck Lane Press, founded by an ex-W.W. Norton man, has just published American Genius, which is a generously illustrated book about nineteenth-century bank locks and time locks. And, what's more, if you live within reach of New York, you can visit an associated exhibition at the gallery of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen.
The asking price, in the UK, is £55, which is a bit steep, but you could always haggle with your friendly neighbourhood independent bookseller. Mention the Amazon price (£36.30) and see if he will compromise. If he doesn't actually come at you with a knife, you might strike lucky. Position yourself between him and the door before you start, though.
This is half-term week in a lot of the UK, and I may be absent tomorrow, dealing with number-one grandson.