Publishers swimmingly; retailers haltingly

From today’s Times (Saturday’s weekly books supplement), a note pointing out that publishers complain that booksellers charge them too much for book promotion. Jodi Picoult’s latest is cited as being on special offer at all the chains,  evidence that retailers are stifling variety? Well, Waterstone’s and WH Smith have recently announced flat results, and Borders is up for sale. On the other hand, Random House, Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon&Schuster have all announced healthy profits.

One book description that caught my eye is "Adverbs" by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket). Adverbs is a set of linked short stories set in and around San Francisco, concerning the attempts by a group of characters to find love. Each story has an adverb as the title: Immediately, Soundly, Collectively, etc. According to the Times reviewer, "beautifully written and very funny, these stories are inventive as they are engaging." (UK price is £7.99 but presumably cheaper in your local Watertsone’s, Borders or WHS.)

3 thoughts on “Publishers swimmingly; retailers haltingly

  1. Yes, Jodi Picoult is everywhere. I was looking for a book yesterday and in every single bookshop there she was – there was even a big display in our local library!
    And yes, an interesting point about bookshops versus publishers – the figures seem to speak for themselves, really, don’t they?

  2. I love Daniel Handler. I loved his Lemony Snicket series (until The End); I loved his book The Basic Eight. I couldn’t take Adverbs. I decided it was too much work to read, with an insufficient payoff, so I didn’t finish it. Be curious to see what you think.

  3. I couldn’t get into that book either, though it was in a box of books that I was culling for an omnibus review. I don’t remember anything about it, except that when I flipped through dozens of books, reading around in them, it got stuck in the “won’t review” pile v. the ten or so I picked “to review.”

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