In my innocence I did not know that literary prize organisations charge publishers to have a book on the shortlist. Apparently this is normal practice for prizes like the Booker and the Orange prize, and now the Crime Writers’ Association has announced that it is going to do the same for its Dagger prizes. After last year’s decision to exclude books not originally written in English for this year’s awards, you would think the organisation would have learned something about good public relations. But isn’t it possible for there to be a prestigious book prize that doesn’t involve an element of paid product placement?
It’s finally happened: Amazon has been doing pretty well at the DVD rental game (its search facility makes it the best at sending you the film you want rather than a random selection out of 30), so now it is becoming a library, too, according to Galley Cat. (US site only, I presume, as the UK site lags woefully behind in so many respects). Amazon will be supplying books ready covered and barcoded to libraries to reduce libraries’ overhead costs and time for orders to be fulfilled.
So how about an Amazon Library book prize, with at least one category being "most borrowed new book" — no money changing hands for shortlists, of course? If the prize were big enough, maybe such an award could become "the one to win" and put the money-grubbers to shame. (Well, one can but hope…)