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Comment from the book world in April 2007

April 2007

'All charred stumps'

30 April 2007

'The past? I don't want to see the past. I want to see the future. I get very jealous of the future, because I know I'm not going to be around. The future - what, of this view, will there be? Will it be all charred stumps? Or more of the same but, say, no more trees? Or more trees but something else new, for good, or to worry about? What's it going to be? Time is going so f***ing fast. After 40, it just... hell, I'm not going to see it, see that future, and that angers me. Frankly, it angers, me.'

Douglas Coupland in the Observer Magazine

Writers and wreaders

23 April 2007

'It would be hard these days to create a new model of copyright based on who is cool and uncool, but it is time to make a distinction between writing which is produced with the intention of being literature, and what I call 'wreading', words produced primarily as personal documentation, an activity which has mushroomed online.

What do I mean by a Wreader? Someone who leaves reviews on Amazon, writes a blog about the books and films they enjoy (which may include extracts and samples of these), writes stories and poems as a form of self-expression. Their website is their diary, notebook and commonplace book.

If wreader turns writer, it means they are choosing to present a crafted work of art to the world, and await the world's verdict on its quality. Or else their work has caught the eye of passing browsers - like the millions who can latch onto a blog or YouTube miming teen, making its creator an accidental and probably very temporary star. In this way Wreaders can define what they want to see in print and writers can build a readership in advance of a book's actual publication.'

Chris Meade, Director of Booktrust in his Bookfutures blog

'A blockbuster junkie'

9 April 2007

'To understand the blockbuster phenomenon you have to look at the successes rather than bask in the schadenfreude of the failures. It's not easy to convey the impact on corporate thinking of the sheer cataract of money that floods the coffers when a really humungous hit comes your way. A single book that sells a million copies will generate revenues larger than the annual turnover of 90% of Britain's publishing companies. And every copy sold beyond the numbers in the budget earns a profit of 35%, without a penny added to overheads.

Once this phenomenon has happened to you, you are a blockbuster junkie, and you have the cash to indulge you addiction. If you are one of the larger corporate players, it doesn't take long to work out that the best way to contain risk is to place several bets. A single seven-figure punt carries a significant risk of failure, but a single hit will more than likely outweigh the cost of two failures.'

Anthony Cheetham in the Bookseller

'Suddenly everybody wanted it'

2 April 2007

'Rejection does not mean no. You wouldn't believe how many scripts of mine have been rejected, only for me to sit on them, re-submit them, and have them accepted. Prime Suspect? Nobody wanted it. People thought Jane Tennison was a rather repugnant character. She didn't cry when she saw a body. And I thought, well, I'm not going to change this. I'd worked too hard on it. And then suddenly everybody wanted it.'

Lynda La Plante in the Observer magazine