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June 12, 2013

Independents flock to NBT’s e-book shop

Patrick Neale

Patrick Neale

| By Lisa Campbell

More than 130 independent booksellers have signed up to the new Indie eBook Shop already, with the figure expected to increase to around 400.

National Book Tokens (NBT) launched the service at the London Book Fair in April, giving independent booksellers 17.5% commission on e-book sales through the site, which is powered by Gardners.

NBT’s managing director Alex de Berry said he was impressed with the encouraging reaction from booksellers to the proposition so far. He told The Bookseller: “It’s going really well—we continue to get good feedback on it, even though it is still relatively early days. We have sent emails to 850–900 indies, and now we are about to start the chase-up process, talking to people about how it might work.”

The Indie eBook Shop offers 430,000 titles, which are all in the EPUB format and can be read on all e-readers apart from Amazon’s Kindle.

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May 24, 2013

Rushdie, Fagan, Gunn on James Tait Black shortlists

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

| By Charlotte Williams

Salman Rushdie and Jenni Fagan are among the authors shortlisted for the £10,000 James Tait Black biography and fiction awards. The shortlist for the newly created drama category is to be announced later this month.

Contenders for the fiction prize are Scottish author Fagan’s The Panopticon (Windmill Books), about a 15-year-old who finds herself headed for a home for chronic young offenders but can¹t remember why; The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn (Faber), about a dying man creating a musical composition that will define his life; Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner (Granta), about a young American poet on a fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self; and The Deadman’s Pedal by Alan Warner (Vintage), about a 16-year-old who leaves school to become a train driver and is introduced to a world of glamour.

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May 22, 2013

Baha Mousa book wins George Orwell Prize

very_british | By Joshua Farrington

The £3,000 Orwell Book Prize for political writing has been awarded to A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa by AT Williams, published by Jonathan Cape.

A special Orwell Prize was given to the late Marie Colvin’s On the Front Line (HarperPress).

A Very British Killing follows events in Basra in 2003.

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Self-published book among Commonwealth regional winners

booksstacked_| By Joshua Farrington

A self-published author has featured among the regional winners of the Commonwealth Book Prize.

Ezekel Alan from Jamaica won in the Caribbean category with his self-published book, Disposable People, published via CreateSpace.

He will now go forwards with the other regional winners to compete to be the overall winner of the prize, which is given to the best first novel from a Commonwealth writer. The winner will be announced at Hay Festival on 31st May.

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May 20, 2013

Hensher wins Ondaatje Prize

Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher

| By Charlotte Williams

Philip Hensher’s Scenes from an Early Life (Fourth Estate) has won the £10,000 2013 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize.

The book, a semi-fictional account of the childhood of Hensher’s Bengali husband, was praised as “an unostentatious tour de force” by judge Margaret Drabble. Author Julia Blackburn, another judge, said: “Hensher performs a fascinating act of ventriloquism, taking on the voice of his Bangladeshi husband, who was born in Dacca in 1970, when East Pakistan was on the edge of fighting a bloody war of independence. Maybe it is the fact of being an outsider, while at the same time being intimately connected with his narrator, that enabled Hensher to describe the hubbub of a country’s political transition with such immediacy; we enter an unfamiliar world with him and smell and taste and hear it on all sides.”

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May 17, 2013

Inaugural children’s book award from Radical Booksellers alliance

breadandroses | Lisa Campbell

A graphic novel about refugees forced to flee their homeland has won the inaugural Little Rebels Children’s Book Award, given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers.

Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland (Frances Lincoln) was praised by judges for its power and simplicity, as well as tackling a topical and important subject in the contemporary climate.

Fen Coles, director of Letterbox Library, who administered the award, said: “At a time when there are so many damaging myths circulating about refugees and asylum seekers, it is heartening to see a book which tells the truth—and in a way which children can relate to.”

The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing has also been awarded to a ‘shocking’ account of the working lives of Chinese rural migrants, Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants by Hsiao-Hung Pai (Verso).

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May 16, 2013

Debut-heavy list for R&J summer promotion


Richard and Judy

Richard and Judy

| By Lisa Campbell

Seven debut authors feature on the 10-strong list of summer Richard and Judy Book Club reads at W H Smith, as the retailer launches a new Book Club website featuring exclusive content.

The seven debut novels are: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann (Picador); The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Simon & Schuster); This is How it Ends by Kathleen MacMahon (Sphere); The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Hodder); The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (Black Swan); The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter (Penguin); and The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke (Harper).


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May 15, 2013

Comma strikes twice on Edge Hill shortlist

thestonethrower| Joshua Farrington

Small independent publisher Comma Press has had two titles shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize.

The books, by Adam Marek and Jane Rogers, are shortlisted alongside titles from Jonathan Cape, Pan Macmillan and Bloomsbury, which also has two nominations.

The award, now in its seventh year, is given for a published collection of short stories by a single author. The winner will be announced in a ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly on 4th July.

Judges for this year’s prize are last year’s winner Sarah Hall, author Lesley McDowell and Waterstones regional buyer Jim Lee.

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‘Wonderful’ shortlists for Food Writers awards

pomegranates| By Lisa Campbell

The Guild of Food Writers Awards shortlists include a “wonderful diversity of subject matter” for 2013, the organisers have said.

The annual ceremony awards feature categories such as Cookery Book of the Year, Campaigning and Investigative Food Writing, Cookery Journalist of the Year, Food Blog of the Year and Food Broadcast of the Year. This year’s list includes names like Yotam Ottolenghi, who is up for the cookery journalist of the year award for work published in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine. Also on the list is work such as Consider the Fork: A History of Invention in the Kitchen by Bee Wilson (Particular Books), who is nominated for the Food Book of the Year award.

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May 14, 2013

RNIB hails Kindle app ‘breakthrough’

amazon | By Joshua Farrington

A new Kindle app from Amazon will help blind and partially sighted people to access 1.5m titles.

The app works with the in-built magnification and speech functions of iPhones, iPads and some other Apple devices, while also creating an electronic Braille display.

Amazon consulted with blind and partially sighted people in the UK to help develop the app, which has previously been impossible due to compatibility issues with Apple’s own accessibility features.

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