Danuta Kean

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Harry Potter: Hype after Harry

PUBLISHING IS LITTERED WITH the carcasses of pretenders to the Harry Potter throne, but this week the US publishing giant Random House put its money where its mouth is and announced that it was backing its choice for heir apparent, 21-year-old Christopher Paolini,

Buzz gives boost to industry showcases

Climbing the stairs of London’s National Gallery to open the city’s third annual design festival in September, Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer, turned to festival director Ben Evans and said: “We need more showcases like this.”

Why big names don’t mean best-sellers

Something has gone topsy-turvy in the world of books. Famous publishers are paying vast sums for so-called “big books” that wind up very quickly in the remainder shops. Meanwhile, the best-seller lists are topped by perfectly-formed, unprepossessing volumes from small independent firms that can hardly believe their good fortune. It is a reversal of the natural laws of publishing.

Toby Mundy: The optimistic Mr Mundy

Toby Mundy is an optimist at heart. By his own admission the youthful managing director of Atlantic Books, the UK offshoot of US independent Grove Atlantic, is a “glass half full” man. In the past year this optimism has been rewarded by a string of successes

Ottakars RIP

My blog was not up when the news broke about Ottakars. So late as I am, I want to pay tribute to a chain that showed a remarkable professionalism and commitment to local retailing that it challenged independent bookshops to raise their game. Ottakars’ stores served their local communities in
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John Prescott no thanks

Amid all the brouhaha about John Humphrys questions to John Prescott about whether he did or didn’t have other affairs, no one seems to have mentioned the question of taste and decency. Put it this way. Please, please enough! There are certain things I don’t want planted in my fertile
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