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Comment from the book world in March 2007

March 2007

'A potential readership of billions'

26 March 2007

'For the Bodleian, however - an early Google signatory - such efforts mark the liberation of millions of relatively obscure and out-of-copyright books from the depths of its vast stacks. Our involvement contributes to both the betterment of society and the legacy of our founder, Elizabethan diplomat Sir Thomas Bodley, who sought a repository of information not simply for the University of Oxford, but for the wider world. The internet has provided the opportunity to reinterpret Bodley's vision of the library's universal value by adding a potential readership of billions to the 40,000 or so individuals who are able to physically visit its premises each year...

Public domain books belong where the worldwide public can use them; and that is where the Bodleian wants them to be seen. Like it or not, the internet is where the public looks first for information. To resist that inexorable tide of progress is, to paraphrase Cervantes, tilting at windmills.'

Reg Carr, Librarian Emeritus at the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, in the Bookseller

'A work of fiction which loses money'

19 March 2007

'Apparently (a literary book) is a work of fiction which loses money. It seemed rather an odd definition, and I tried to argue that publishing companies tend to do a better job when they are solvent. In addition, I'm not quite sure why literary publishing should deserve more support than, say, educational publishing in Zimbabwe. Of course we are committed to literary publishing and to the continued growth of Picador in all its markets... but I should not want to leave future publishers at Macmillan with an inheritance of loss, whatever the definition of literature.'

Richard Charkin, ceo of Macmillan, in his sparky and opinionated blog

Winning the Diamond Dagger

12 March 2007

'With the Elder trilogy, my sales have quadrupled. It's not only that my novels have suddenly got better or that I'm writing more reader-friendly books. Partly, it's that the Frank Elder novels are bigger and longer. Publishers want that. It's also made a difference that the publishers can market them as thrillers, and not just police procedurals. Random House had a serious sales plan, a serious marketing plan; they've pushed the books hard, they've got them into the shops...

'For me, it's a good time to get the Diamond Dagger. It will act as a fillip, to make me try harder. You either rest on your laurels and wait for retirement to tap you on the shoulder, or you think: 'Now what can I do?'

John Harvey, on being awarded the Diamond Dagger by the Crime Writers' AssociationA networking society for some 400 British crime writers (widely defined) and links to their sites. Membership for published writers only, but award a Debut Dagger for the best unpublished crime novel. Some articles from their magazine Red Herrings are posted on the site and there are links to many individual crime writers' websites., in The Times

Being an editor and an author

5 March 2007

'It makes me a much kinder editor because I understand the egotistical life of the author much more. On the other hand, it makes me more nervous because I am so aware of all the things that can go wrong. Also you must have a certain level of 'drivenness' to be an author, and therefore you are very sensitive to criticism. As a publisher, you think: 'Will all my colleagues laugh? Will this novel even get published? To write with any kind of confidence and momentum and happiness you need to forget that the outside world exists - and I can hear it yelling in my head, talking about 13-digit ISBNs.'

Charlotte Mendelson in the Bookseller