Saturday, 10 December 2011

Safe socks

We were pleased to see the review of our New London Editions' title The Furnished Room by Laura Del-Rivo in today's Guardian. The reviewer, Cathi Unsworth, is one of the younger "London writing" fans and, as it happens, buys socks from Laura's market stall on Portobello Road. I doubt the commissioning editor of the Guardian knew that when she asked Cathi to write the review - this is not sock-gate. Of the reviews in this issue of the paper, twenty were of books from small and large independent publishers, four only were from conglomerates. I'm not sure where to place Cambridge University Press, but I think a score of 4-1 in favour of the indies is good enough. In addition, the lead story in the Guardian Review, on Marilyn Monroe, was by Sarah Churchwell, whose book on Monroe was published by an indie; the "a life in..." profile this time was of Simon Armitage who is mostly published by indies; the poem of the week is from a Carcanet collection. It would be nice of this kind of coverage was reflected in bookshops... anyway, here's the review of Laura's book:

I'm told that Patrick McGuiness - speaking at the Inpress group of small publishers AGM - said that when his book The Last Hundred Days came out, it sold 64 copies in the first three months, with no mentions in the press. Once it was on the Booker longlist all the papers that had ignored the book wanted another review copy. His book was also on the Costa shortlist and has now sold 12,000. This is great news for Seren, the small Welsh publisher, and for Inpress. Indeed, the Booker turned up several books from groundling publishers. But wait... the book that sold 64 in three months and 12,000 in the next three is the same book. Unless the critics review such books, and bookshops stock them how are we supposed to know of their existence? So well done Guardian.

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