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Without doubt the biggest story over the past couple of days in publishing has been the revised rules changes for next year’s Man Booker Prize. There are some links below on this story to explain all the pending changes. What is striking is how the story has been billed as Man Booker organisers to allow entry for US authors, as if this was the specific purpose of the main controversial rule change. Let’s be clear here; the actual rule change is the opening of the prize to ALL authors, regardless of nationality, with books published in the UK in the English language. Until now the Booker has only been open to novels written in the English language by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Republic of Ireland, or Zimbabwe. Clearly the organisers are conscious of raising the prestige of the prize with so many other major literary prizes now, including the recently introduced Folio prize.
I’m less worried about the Man Booker being overrun with American novels in years to come, as I am about the real point and sense in widening the entry of the prize. The organisers already have a Booker International Prize awarded every two years, so I don’t see the point in having two separate prizes now. On a more directly related point, when I saw first the publishing headlines about the mooted rule changes, I had hoped it would be in relation to the Booker being more open to books digital-only published or high quality self-published work.
Moby Lives, the blog of US independent publisher Melville House, naturally examined the implications for US authors with a rather bizarre rant (linked below)from its Digital Publishing Director, Alex Shepard. I wondered if it was a piss-take on ultra pro-republican Limbaugh, and frankly after reading the whole Moby Lives post, I’m still none the wiser now! The MHP blog has noticeably become more and more a mouthpiece for political and publishing diatribe over the past 12 months. Their anti Obama and Amazon tirades are becoming just a tad tiring now. I think Melville House Publishing see themselves as some kind of arty-farty independent publishing house trying to inspire a new literary generation, and ironically, it’s much in the spirit of many daring European-based publishers of the early and mid 20th Century. Whether intended to be serious or politically satirical or not, it brings to mind the often-used saying that includes the words wood and trees, and the inability not to see beyond the end of your own sky-pointed arthouse nose!
I’ve included some other links below (some make a little more sense and offer valid points than the Moby Live one!)
On a lighter note, Digital Reader highlights one book just published that advises the reader on the front cover how long they should take to read it. Digital Reader delivers the lowdown on why this is a ludicrous idea and completely misses the point of reading and reading ability and styles.
Librio is a recently launched e-book store with a difference. It’s purely intended for books from self-published authors and small publishers. Founded by author Ben Galley and designer Teague Fullick, Librio has been getting quite some positive press, but Galley tells us in the linked articles below that there still remains some development work to carry out.
Writer Beware has an update on the class action law suit taken by three authors against Author Solutions and Penguin. With amendments being entered in this case more than once, this one could run for quite a while, and as I suggested in my analysis of the original law suit papers back in April, at least one of the plaintiff claims may be dismissed for good.
Finally on today’s brief, The Self-Publishing Review has compiled a handy compilation of the top ten videos on self-publishing available.