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News stories from the book world in January 2003


Agencies as big businesses

22 December 2003

A recent extraordinary interview with New York agent Andrew Wylie, known without affection as the 'the Jackal' has focused attention again on the way in which agents are developing a more predatory approach to other agents' clients. Wylie is one of a kind, as exemplified by a recent interview, in which he admitted that he's like a sponge: 'If I were to characterise it, I would say that <  Read more

Bestsellers and Big Reads

15 December 2003

The international scene has continued to reverberate as Harry Potter smashes through previous sales records. In spite of huge sales of the English language edition, the German translation has gone on to set new records.  Read more

Open access, the way of the future?

8 December 2003

Open access is beginning to look as if it will transform online journal publishing. To date readers (and libraries) have paid subscriptions to academic journals, now mostly online, where research is published.  Read more

The British Library teams up with Amazon

1 December 2003

Another Amazon coup has hustled the online retailer into the headlines yet again.  Read more

Book famine in our schools

24 November 2003

Recent news from both sides of the Atlantic has highlighted once again the importance of reading in educational achievement and how much education and reading in general are harmed by poor provision for books in schools. Scores just out in the US show that children's reading skills have barely improved since 1992, despite all the efforts that have been made.  Read more

Authors use the web

17 November 2003

It's hard to attract the attention of an agent and get your work published. Recently writers have been coming up with some innovative ways of grabbing the attention of the publishing world. Take David Little, younger brother of Christopher Little, J K Rowling's agent.  Read more

Compelling insider's story or just tittle-tattle?

10 November 2003

Perhaps even more amazing, for the cynical royal-watcher, is the fact that Burrell is planning a 25-city US book tour and that his American publisher has put in hand a huge print-run. Can there still be so much worldwide interest in this rather tired saga?  Read more

The Big Read - trashy TV or reinstating great books?

3 November 2003

Last week WritersServices featured Bob Ritchie's astringent look at the Big Read in his Journal. The BBC's big literary idea has certainly come in for its share of harsh comments over the past week or two.  Read more

Amazon's book search

27 October 2003

As mentioned in our 28 July News Review Amazon continues to power ahead, Amazon has been working for some time now on its just-launched 'Search inside the Book' feature, which allows browsers to search within the pages of books offered on its site. You can jump to a number of pages within the book, but not view them all.  Read more

Second-hand books take off

20 October 2003

The Internet has transformed the sale of used books. In an operation which works a little like Ebay, except that it serves primarily the antiquarian book trade rather than private sellers, the Canadian firm Abebooks has opened up a new world. Antiquarian books used to be a somewhat dusty corner of the book trade, even though large amounts of money could change hands when wealthy c  Read more

Frankfurt under threat?

13 October 2003

The Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., just drawing to a close, is still the biggest international book fair by some considerable margin, but there are signs that its pre-eminence is being challenged by smaller fairs. The London Book Fair, for example, is more user-friendly for the publishers who gather from all over the world to buy and sell rights.  Read more

E-books threatened by takeover

6 October 2003

In an interesting coda to last week's story on the progress being made by e-books, some sudden changes of personnel and policy have followed on from a switch in ownership at a key e-book operation. Palmgear, an independent retailer based in Tennessee, acquired the assets of Palm Digital Media last month.  Read more