Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Groan groan

You may recall -- though there is no earthly reason why you should have bothered to remember -- that just over a month ago the US firm William Morrow announced that on 12 September it would be publishing a book that would 'make headlines around the world.' But no further details were given: no title, no author, no indication of what the book was about. Booksellers were expected, nay, almost required, to purchase extra shelf space to accommodate -- just briefly, you understand, while the customers fought to get in the door -- enough copies of this staggering publication to meet the overwhelming demand.

There ensued a short -- very short -- period of intense speculation as to what the fuck this was all about. Ron Hogan of Galleycat thought that the book would be about Michael Jackson, and I suggested that Macaulay Culkin might be the author, with fresh revelations about his relationship with MJ.

Well, so far as I know, no one got it right. The mystery book in question turns out to be yet another pot-boiler about Princess Diana, and the author (again) is her former butler, Paul Burrell. (Link from

This is really boring. So boring, in fact, that I nearly missed it.

Booksellers aren't too pleased either. 'I feel hoodwinked,' Mark LaFramboise told CNN. Framboise is a buyer for Politics & Prose, an independent store based in Washington, D.C. LaFramboise said he ordered 10-12 copies. 'This is Washington and we thought it might have been a relevant political book. But this is nothing but publicity gimmickry. They should be ashamed of themselves.'

Here in England we have a daily newspaper (or alleged newspaper) called the Daily Express. This was once the home of some fine journalism but is now in the possession of Richard Desmond.

Desmond earned his first fortune as the publisher of a string of magazines which are as hard-core porn as it is possible to get in the UK without actually going underground. Big Ones and Asian Babes were two of the better known titles. Desmond also owns the most popular pornographic television channel in the UK, Television X.

For some reason best known to Desmond, the Daily Express now publishes cretinous 'revelations' about Princess Diana on an almost daily basis. According to Wikipedia, the Express has devoted its front page to Diana on 42 occasions during 2006 alone. For the week beginning 27 August, the paper printed the 'Diana Dossier' in which it claimed to ask all the questions related to Diana's death. The lady was featured on the front page every day that week.

US residents have been spared all this, of course. But now you get a whole book of the same. Or perhaps even less interesting.


Don said...

Oh, don't worry we got saturation coverage here as well.

Anonymous said...

Go to Tesco and the new Burrell title will likely be dumped at half-cover : I wonder why no self-respecting UK independent bookshop would order this "x" title.

Faber & Faber similarly offered a recent title - via Bertram Books - "And Still I Rise" by Doreen Lawrence - made me feel kinda sick to see that title heavily discounted and peddled alongside the cabbages in Tesco.

Adam said...

Macmillan tried the same trick last year. We were slightly interested. When it turned out to be some damp squib of a Tony and Cherie expose we were thouroughly unimpressed. A total and utter counterproductive waste of time. We only took it because I was working for a bookshop owned by Macmillan at the time. I hope they've learnt their lesson.

ivan said...

It's all over us, certainly here in Canada, and our immediate neighbour.
CBC all over it as well as Buffalo-Toronto WNED.
But she was a dish, was she not.

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