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January 12, 2012

Morpurgo titles to be given away at McDonald’s

Filed under: Retail — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:41 am

 |By Caroline Horn

Restaurant chain McDonald’s is to give away nine million copies of Michael Morpurgo’s Mudpuddle Farm books in its McDonald’s Happy Meals for children, as part of a promotion with HarperCollins Children’s Books.

The initiative will run from today, 11th January, to Tuesday 7th February. Customers ordering Happy Meals will be offered a free book from a selection including six titles from Mudpuddle Farm range including Mossop’s Last Chance, Pigs Might Fly! and Martians at Mudpuddle Farm, all aimed at children aged six to eight years.

Each book comes with a finger puppet and books will also be available to purchase at McDonald’s restaurants without the need to buy a Happy Meal. The initiative is being publically backed by TV presenter Jeff Brazier.

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November 25, 2011

Big names set to dominate children’s Christmas

Christopher Paolini's Inheritance

25.11.11 | Caroline Horn

Booksellers are relying on a handful of established names to boost sales this Christmas, with little expectation of any surprise bestsellers emerging in the next few weeks.

Melissa Cox, new titles buyer at Waterstone’s, said: “We already have early indications of what will do well this Christmas, including Jeff Kinney’s Cabin Fever and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance. David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny is another nice gift book and, I think, his best work to date.”

Rachel Airey, buyer at W H Smith, said: “For us, the big authors are going to be even bigger this Christmas. That is what we have seen so far, and we expect it to continue. We don’t see new names cutting through or generating much excitement.” Sales for Cabin Fever reached 81,804, while Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance has sold 100,984 to date.

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November 12, 2011

Ribblestrop scoops Guardian Children’s Book Award

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| By Caroline Horn

Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books) has been awarded the Guardian Children’s Book Award, beating off shortlisted titles including David Almond’s My Name is Mina and Simon Mason’s Moon Pie yesterday.

The book is about a boarding school called Ribblestrop where the children call the shots. The first title in the series, Ribblestrop, was also shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize but despite its literary successes, sales have been modest.

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November 10, 2011

Paolini eyes sci-fi for next venture


10.11.11 | Caroline Horn

Christopher Paolini is likely to turn his hand to science fiction for his next work, as the final book in his epic Inheritance Cycle series is published this week.

The series has sold 4.5m in export and UK sales, including 1.2m in the UK (TCM sales), since the first book Eragon was published in 2004.

The global English language print run for Inheritance (Doubleday Children’s) is 3.5m. Speaking to The Bookseller, Paolini said: “It has lots of adventures and excitement but it’s also touching and there are trying moments for the characters and some of the characters die. It’s big, it’s exciting, but it’s intense and there’s a certain bitter-sweet quality to parts of the end.”

At 300,000 words, Inheritance is nearly double the length of Eragon but Paolini said his next book “will be a short story”. The length of each tome stopped him from “taking a break” from the Inheritance Cycle to write one of the other “20 or 30 stories” he has been mulling over. He said: “I worried that if I stopped writing the Eragon books, I wouldn’t finish the series. Also this is a coming of age story and I didn’t want to be too far away from that when I was writing it.” Paolini, who began writing Eragon aged just 15, turns 28 later this year.

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October 29, 2011

Hornby calls for a nationwide network of story ‘ministries’

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 4:47 am


Nick Hornby

|By  Caroline Horn

Author Nick Hornby wants to establish a national network of story centres for children, following a successful first year for the Ministry of Stories in Hoxton, London, which Hornby co-founded with Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne.

Hornby said: “The Ministry of Stories has had a happy, healthy and exciting first year, and there has been overwhelming interest from children, parents, schools and volunteers. We want to establish ourselves even more firmly in the community, involve even more local writers, artists and musicians, and hopefully inspire other Ministries up and down the country.”

The east London-based centre includes a monster-themed shop and a workshop area where young people are supported in their creative writing by authors and illustrators. It is open to local schools and families and the events are free.

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July 16, 2011

Children’s publishing “haemorrhaging talent”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Bookblurb @ 7:16 am

| Caroline Horn

The industry is “haemorrhaging talent” as authors and illustrators are finding it increasingly difficult to make a living in the children’s sector.

Agent Caroline Sheldon said that she estimated that fewer than half of the children’s authors who previously made a living from writing five or 10 years ago are now doing so. She said: “The big things are getting bigger and the middle area is getting squeezed.” While authors used to be able to diversify outside their main area, cutbacks in publishers’ lists have made extra work scarce, she added.

Agent Laura Cecil pointed to a collapse in royalty payments for books sold, leaving authors dependent on advances for income.

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July 8, 2011

Jason Wallace wins Branford Boase

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|By Caroline Horn

Debut author Jason Wallace has won the Branford Boase award for his novel, Out of Shadows (Andersen Press), which has previously also won the Costa Children’s Book Award. The award, which recognises debut authors, is shared by Wallace and his editor, Charlie Shepherd, as it recognises both the author’s work and the contribution of an editor.

Out of Shadows explores the period in history when Zimbabwe was making its transition from white rule to a country dominated by its current corrupt leader, Robert Mugabe. Wallace, who moved to Zimbabwe as a child, said: “The inspiration for the story came many, many years ago. I wanted to write about my experiences in Zimbabwe as a foreigner, especially my school days.

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Independent e-book site launches

Filed under: e-tailers — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 1:28 pm

08.07.11 | Caroline Horn

A blogging site that aims to boost authors’ independent e-book sales has been created by writers Katherine Roberts and Susan Price in response to a significant contraction in many authors’ earnings.

Roberts said: “The whole of paper-based publishing is now set up for bestsellers and instant profits, while e-books offer a better opportunity to build a long-term career.” She added: “I am not aiming to make millions from this, I am aiming to make a living in the longer term.”

The website venture,, is open to all UK-based authors, both adult and children’s, as long as they already have a publishing “track record” to guarantee the quality of their work, Roberts explained. more

February 25, 2011

Walker launches marketing campaigns for YA and picturebooks

Filed under: Publishers — Tags: , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:13 am

Caroline Horn

Walker Books is launching marketing campaigns to support its picture book publishing and teen fiction ranges. Undercover, promoting a range of YA titles, will launch in March and a separate picture book campaign, Picture Book Picnic, will begin in April.
Joanne Owen, consumer marketing manager, said, “We wanted to find a way to pull together and cross-promote a range of titles within these two key areas. It makes a lot of sense to invest longer-term, and we envisage both campaigns will continue beyond this launch year.” Each campaign is backed by a five-figure budget.                                                                …read more

February 24, 2011

Trade gears up for World Book Day

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:41 am

Caroline Horn

Bookshops, libraries, museums and theatres will be celebrating this year’s World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March) with a range of high profile and community initiatives.                                                              …read more

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