Some news about books in May – via the Bookseller

Books As usual I am somewhat behind in reading the Bookseller, but the 29 January issue has lots in it. Here's some of it, filtered.

Among many titles to look forward to that are coming out in paperback in the UK in May are An Empty Death, Laura Wilson's follow-up to the excellent WW2-set Stratton's War; Ice Cold by Andrea Maria Schenkel, translated by the recently honoured Anthea Bell and, indeed, a book that very much lives up to its title; Daniel (brother of Johnny) Depp's Loser's Town, first in a series about a "former stuntman and laid back PI"; Trail of Blood by S J Rozan, the UK launch of the first in this series (called The Shanghai Moon in the USA) billed as a "Sue Grafton/Harlan Coben cross"; The Black Monastery by Stav Sherez, in which two crime writers arrive on the Greek island of Palassos as a 33-year-old crime resurfaces; The Scarecrow by the master, Michael Connelly; Christobel Kent's A Time of Mourning, introducing an ex-policeman now private detective Sandro Cellini of Florence, apparently "in the Donna Leon mould";  The Merry Misogynist, the sixth Laos-based coroner's tale by the wonderful, witty wordsmith Colin Cotterill; A Deadly Trade, the second novel by "Michael Stanley", following the exciting debut A Carrion Death; and Lennox by Craig Russell, the first of a "gritty, Glasgow-based 1950s series featuring a shady private eye. It's gangland stuff mixed with arms trading."
[Links in the paragraph above go to reviews at Euro Crime, It's a Crime!, Petrona, The Guardian, The Independent and Mostly Fiction.]

Another author better known in other spheres is making the move to crime: Toby Litt has produced what the Bookseller calls "a stunning commercial mystery called King Death" (Penguin) which will apparently be backed by a lot of marketing when it comes out in May as an original large (A) format paperback. "A fantastic medical thriller set among London medical students" is all the bookseller says about the contents (at the moment!).

If you are interested in which (crime) authors made the most money in the UK in 2009, the answer, according to Neilsen/the Bookseller, are Dan Brown (2),  "James Patterson" (3) – though I think it unfair to count him as one author – Stieg Larsson (6), Martina Cole (11), John Grisham (12), and Patricia Cornwell (20). The amounts are on a scale ranging from £15 million plus (Brown) to a shade over £4 million (Cornwell). I suppose nobody is guessing who is at no 1, but just in case – yes, it is Stephanie Meyer (almost £30 million). However, in Europe overall, Stieg Larsson outsold Stephanie Meyer  in 2009- they are numbers 1 and 2, respectively. (Dan Brown is 3, Carlos Ruiz Zafon 5, Camilla Lackberg 6, Henning Mankell 9, Simon Beckett 11 and James Patterson is down at 12, one above Roslund-Hellstrom. Other favourites of mine include Andrea Camilleri at 18, Asa Larsson at 23, Saskia Noort at 29, Harlan Coben at 30 and Mari Jungstedt at 42.) This list is based on chart positions rather than numbers of sales.

There are quite a few controversies in the book business being discussed everywhere just now, not least the Bookseller: electronic book tokens have finally been introduced in the UK, but the independent booksellers are upset about them because they take much longer to process when issued, and the purchaser can go and cash them in at other (non-independent) bookshops, including online if the seller is a member of the Booksellers' Association (which Amazon isn't, and I presume supermarkets aren't). There is also a lot of kerfuffle about e-readers and digital formats, given the recent launch of the iPad and the argument over pricing that Macmillans (and no doubt soon other publishers) are having with Amazon. Google book search is still providing much fuel for the fire, and John Blake laments the England/Wales libel laws: "significant and important books that would have been published five years ago, are now simply not worth the risk." (Did someone tell Katie Price, one of John Blake's authors?)

A long profile of publisher Anthony Cheetham (late of Abacus, Sphere, Futura, Century Hutchinson, Orion, Random House and Quercus, several of which he founded), who has now taken up a role at Corvus, recent publisher of US author C. J. Box's Three Weeks to Say Goodbye. Apparently he will be revealing details of his new non-fiction imprint Castillo at the London Book Fair this year, and is also involved in a separate digital publishing project. He explains his view about how the publishing business is changing from a collaboration between publisher, author and bookseller to now, where publishing is becoming a "copyright business, not a book business. It is a whole new dimension of understanding various media, in the larger context of being the author's business partner."