Sunday, January 30, 2005


Livres Du Mal

Over at the Telegraph Mark Sanderson notes the worstsellers of 2004:

A survey of retailers conducted by The Bookseller has revealed which books bombed this Christmas. Those that failed to find favour with the public include: So Me by Graham Norton, Accomodating Brocolli in the Cemetary by Vivian Cook, The Goldfish Bowl by Cherie Blair and Cate Haste and My World by Jonny Wilkinson.

It's an evergreen story; back in 2000 the Guardian noted how Anthea Turner's £400,000 autobiography sold only 451 copies in its first week. US publisher rarely fall over themselves to release Bookscan numbers to the public; one encounters damning Booktrack sales figures much more readily in Britain.

But save your real pity for authors in France; a L'Express article (thanks to Literary Saloon for the link) -- which I translate from crudely here -- notes that some authors do not even learn that their books have been pulped out of existence:

"France manufactures approximately 500 million books per year," explains book-market economist Christian Robin, lecturer in Paris XIII. "And we sell less about 400 million of them. Do the math: in the long term there are some 100 million copies to be pulped.".... [one publisher] acknowledges, for its part, to having pulped 3000 copies of a novel (of which it had sold only 146 copies) without having informed the author of it. They explain: "That would have made him feel bad."

Or "evil," I'm not sure which. Hmm... probably both.

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