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Sainsbury's to stop selling printed books online

Story by Jack Foley

SUPERMARKET chain Sainsbury’s has announced that it is to stop selling printed books online by the end of February (2014).

The announcement comes as new figures show that sales of printed books fell dramatically in 2013 prompted, in part, by the continued rise in the digital e-book industry.

A statement released by a spokesman for the supermarket said: “We see that the online opportunity lies in digital products, with physical music, books, games and films sold in our stores.

“This move is in line with wider industry trends towards on-demand entertainment, and part of our focus on the fast-growing download and streaming market.”

Sales of printed books fall dramatically in 2013

Story by Jack Foley

SALES of printed books experienced a massive decline in 2013.

According to figures released by Nielsen BookScan, sales fell by £98m last year, which represents a drop of 6.5% from 2012. The number of actual books sold also fell to 183.9 million (a decrease of 9.8%).

In all, a total of £1.416 billion was spent on paperbacks and hardbacks in the 52-week period up to December 28.

In part, the reason for the decline was attributed to the continued rise of the digital e-book as well as the lack of any record-breaking titles in 2013. A year earlier, EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey erotic novels had created a stir and sent sales figures soaring – at its peak, the series accounted for almost half of all novels bought in the UK.

Coupled with that, over two million UK users joined the digital book market in the first nine months of 2013.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s My Autobiography was the best-selling book overall of 2013, shifting 803,084 copies, while the hardback version of Dan Brown’s Inferno was the best-selling novel, with 640,676 copies purchased.

Life After Life and Drysalter claim Costa top prizes

Life After Life

Story by Jack Foley

LIFE After Life, a tale of perpetual resurrection by Kate Atkinson, and poetry collection Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts have claimed the top two awards at the Costa Book Awards 2014.

Atkinson topped an all-woman shortlist to win the Costa novel award 19 years after she claimed the overall Costa prize for her debut, Behind The Scenes At The Museum.

Roberts also won his second Costa in the poetry category for his sixth collection of poems.

Each receives £5,000 and go forward to compete for the main book of the year prize at a London ceremony on January 28, 2014.

Costa’s judges described Life After Life, which follows a character named Ursula Todd, who dies at birth in 1910, but is given several chances to live again, as “astonishing”.

They added: “This book does everything you could ask for in a work of fiction and so much more.”

Williams, meanwhile, saw his collection of 150 poems, or “super sonnets” of 15 lines each, triumph ahead of Clive James’s translation of Dante’s Inferno. The collection derives its name from the old high street traders called drysalters, who were dealers in gums, drugs, poisons and powders.

Other Costa winners were political cartoonist Chris Riddle, who won the children’s book category for Goth Girl And The Ghost Of A Mouse, which was described by the judges as “an instant classic for children of all ages”, and Lucy Hughes-Hallett, who took the biography title for The Pike, her study of philandering Italian poet and politician Gabriele D’Annunzio.

Former mental health nurse Nathan Filer won best first novel for The Shock of the Fall, which follows the experience of Matthew Holmes, a 19-year-old who is haunted after witnessing his brother’s death at a holiday park in Dorset.

The Costa judges said: “It’s hard to believe this is a first novel – it’s so good it will make you feel a better person.”

The Costa Book Awards were formerly known as the Whitbread Prize. The overall winner will receive £30,000. This year’s awards had a record 617 entries.

Woody Guthrie up for bad sex in fiction award but Bridget Jones misses out

Story by Jack Foley

THE debut novel from folk singer Woody Guthrie has been shortlisted for 2013’s Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award – but Helen Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones novel has just missed out.

Guthrie’s House of Earth has been nominated 46 years after his death and will battle novels such as Susan Choi’s My Education and Rupert Thomson’s Secrecy.

The winner will be revealed during a ceremony in London on December 3, 2013.

Other nominees are Jonathan Grimwood’s The Last Banquet, William Nicholson’s Motherland, Manil Suri’s The City of Devi, Eric Reinhardt’s The Victoria System and The World Was All Before Them by Matthew Reynolds.

Guthrie posthumously made the shortlist for phrases such as “her body melted into a single note of music to the sky”. His newly-discovered novel was only released earlier this year and was notable for featuring an introduction from Johnny Depp.

Another passage to be highlighted by the judges came in Rupert Thompson’s Secrecy (a tale set in 17th Century Italy) that reads as follows: “Mauve and yellow flowers filled the blank screen of my eyelids, the petals loosening and drifting downwards on to smooth grey stone. I kissed the soft bristles in the hollow of her armpit.”

When it came to Fielding’s latest Bridget Jones novel, Mad About The Boy, however, judges admitted to “agonising” over a passage before deciding that it did not make the cut.

An encounter between the famous singleton and an ex-army officer – “‘Oh, oh,’ I gasped. ‘Did they teach you this in the SAS?’” – was deemed “not quite cringeworthy enough”.

Now in its 21st year, The Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award exists to recognise the “most egregious passage of sexual description” in a novel. It seeks to “draw attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it”.

Last year’s winner was Canadian author Nancy Huston for her book Infrared.

Eleanor Catton youngest ever Man Booker Prize winner

The Luminaries

Story by Jack Foley

ELEANOR Catton has become the youngest ever winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries.

The New Zealand author, aged 28, won for her 832-page tale of the 19th Century goldfields.

The book is also the longest work to win in the prize’s 45-year history.

Robert Macfarlane, chair of the judges, described the book as “a dazzling work”, adding that it was “luminous”. “It is vast without being sprawling,” he added.

A Victorian mystery tale set during the New Zealand gold rush, The Luminaries is intricately structured according to astrological charts, with each section exactly half the length of its predecessor.

It has been dubbed by some critics as the “Kiwi Twin Peaks“.

The winner was announced on Tuesday night (October 15, 2013) at London’s Guildhall, and was presented this year by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Upon picking up the accolade, Catton admitted that her book had been “a publisher’s nightmare”.

The other authors on the shortlist were NoViolet Bulawayo, for We Need New Names; Jim Crace, for Harvest; Jhumpa Lahiri, for The Lowland; Ruth Ozeki, for A Tale for the Time Being, and Colm Toibin, for The Testament of Mary.

Canadian-born Catton was raised in New Zealand and is the second writer from that country to win the prize. The first was Keri Hulme in 1985 with The Bone People, which remains her first and only novel.

Catton’s own debut novel The Rehearsal (2008) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize.

She began writing The Luminaries at the age of 25 and completed it when she was 27. She turned 28 last month.

Obituary: Tom Clancy

The Hunt For Red October

Obituary by Jack Foley

US author Tom Clancy, best known for his Jack Ryan novels, has died at the age of 66, his publisher has confirmed.

The former insurance broker died in a Baltimore hospital near his Maryland home, according to reports.

Clancy wrote a string of best-selling spy and military thrillers, the most successful of which were undoubtedly his Jack Ryan stories, several of which were turned into films.

The Hunt For Red October was Clancy’s first published novel in 1984 and sold more than five million copies, boosted by an endorsement from then President Ronald Reagan, who described it as “a perfect yarn”.

Such was its success, the book was turned into a film starring Alec Baldwin as Ryan and Sir Sean Connery as Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius.

It was followed by popular adaptations of Clancy novels Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger (starring Harrison Ford as Ryan) and The Sum of All Fears (with Ben Affleck in the Ryan role).

Indeed, such is the enduring popularity of Clancy’s novel creation that Paramount Pictures are rebooting the film franchise later this year with Jack Ryan: Shadow One. Chris Pine will play the Ryan character, with Sir Kenneth Branagh directing.

In addition to writing books, Clancy also became closely associated with the world of video gaming and, during the ’90s, founded Red Storm Entertainment, later bought by Ubisoft, which developed games based on Clancy’s ideas, including the popular titles Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six.

He still managed to turn out a book a year, which in turn helped him to become one of the wealthiest authors in the world. In 2002., Forbes ranked him tenth in its Celebrity 100 list with estimated earnings of $47.8m.

Clancy was known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines and regularly talked about his extensive research.

For The Hunt For Red October, for instance, he interviewed former submariners who were working at a nuclear power plant near his home.

However, he did attract criticism from some quarters for the detailed accounts of terrorist attacks on the US, which included a crazed Japan Airlines pilot who flies into the Capitol building in Washington. The book in which it was contained, One, was published in 1994 and was identified by many as being prophetic following the 9/11 attacks of 2001.

Gone (James Patterson) - Preview

Gone, James Patterson

Preview by Jack Foley

A CRIME lord has declared war on America. Only Detective Michael Bennett knows why.

Award-winning and best-selling author James Patterson is back with another compelling thriller in the Michael Bennett Series Gone, the latest instalment is out on hardback on September 12, published by Century.

The Detective Michael Bennett series is a consistent Sunday Times number one bestseller and the character is a classic Patterson hero with all the suspense, action and excitement of an Alex Cross story.

Josh Berman (CSI) has been signed up to direct The Cru, a forthcoming series featuring Detective Michael Bennett for US TV network CBS.

Manuel Perrin doesn’t fear anyone or anything. A charismatic and ruthless leader, Perrine slaughters rivals as effortlessly as he wears his trademark white linen suit.

Detective Michael Bennett once managed to put Perrine behind bars, the only official in the US ever to accomplish that. But now Perrine is out, and he is sworn to find and kill Bennett and everyone dear to him.

Detective Bennett, along with his 10 adopted children, their nanny and his grandfather, are hidden safely on a rural California farm, with guards courtesy of the FBI’s witness protection program.

Perrine begins to embark on an escalating series of assassinations across the country, killings whose brazenness and audacity bring into question the possibility of safety and law in the US. The FBI has no choice but to ask Detective Bennett to risk it all in Perrine’s war on America.

A no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-floor, action-packed novel, Gone is James Patterson at his most personal and most thrilling best.

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. Since winning the Edgar Award in 1977 for his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, his books have sold more than 280 million copies worldwide, with over 16 million in the UK alone.

Win Gone in hardback

To celebrate the release of Gone in hardback on September 12, 2013, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. How many adopted children does Detective Bennett have in Gone?

Simply send the answer to Gone by James Patterson competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Confessions Of A Murder Suspect - Preview

Confessions of a Murder Suspect

Preview by Jack Foley

FROM James Patterson, the world’s biggest thriller writer, the UK’s most borrowed author and the top 10 best-selling author of the Maximum Ride Series, Daniel X and Middle School, comes the first two of a brilliantly original new crime fiction series, Confessions of a Murder Suspect (out in paperback on September 12) and Confessions The Private School Murders (out in hardback on October 24) from Random House Publishers.

James Patterson’s novels have sold in excess of 280 million copies worldwide, with over 16 million sold in the UK alone. The Confessions novels have just sold the Television rights to ABC Family in the US.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect – September 12 (PB)

Your parents have been murdered… and you’re the number one suspect.

On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, their daughter Tandy knows just three things: 1. She was one of the last people to see her parents alive. 2. She and her brothers are the only suspects. 3. She can’t trust anyone – maybe not even herself.

Having grown up under their parents intense perfectionist demands, none of the Angel children have come away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to solve the crime on her own, but digging deeper into her powerful parents’ affairs is a dangerous game.

As she uncovers haunting secrets and slowly begins to remember flashes of disturbing past events buried in her memory Tandy is forced to ask: What is the Angel family truly capable of?

Returning to the genre that made him the world’s best-selling author, James Patterson introduces a teen detective on a mission to bring her parents killer to justice, even if it means uncovering her family’s darkest secrets – and confessing to some of her own.

Win Confessions Of A Murder Suspect in paperback

To celebrate the release of Confessions Of A Murder Suspect in paperback on September 12, 2013, IndieLondon is offering readers the chance to win 1 of 3 copies. Simply answer the following question…

Q. What is the name of the main suspect in Confessions?

Simply send the answer to Confessions of a Murder Suspect competition and include your name, address, telephone number and email

Obituary: Elmore Leonard

Obituary by Jack Foley

MASTERFUL US crime writer Elmore Leonard has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.

A statement released via his official website said that he passed away on Tuesday morning (August 20, 2013) “surrounded by his loving family”.

A prolific writer, Leonard had penned 45 novels during his life and was working on the 46th at the time of his death. Several of his works have been turned into films, including modern classics Out of Sight (starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez) and Get Shorty (with John Travolta and Gene Hackman).

Hombre, 3.10 To Yuma and Rum Punch were among other titles to have been turned into film, the latter by Quentin Tarantino under the title Jackie Brown.

While one of his more heroic characters, US Marshal Raylan Givens, inspired the TV series Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant (which has only recently concluded its fourth season).

His 1978 novel The Switch was filmed this year as Life of Crime.

Born in New Orleans on October 11, 1925, Leonard spent his early years moving around a lot as his father worked as a site locator for General Motors. However, the family eventually settled in Detroit in 1934, which was where he subsequently spent the rest of his life.

During the ’30s, he became influenced by two major events: the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde and the World Series winning exploits of the Detroit Tigers.

After graduating from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943 he immediately joined the Navy and served with the Seabees for three years in the South Pacific. But upon returning, he enrolled at the University of Detroit in 1946 and decided to pursue writing more seriously.

He entered his work in short story contests and sent it off to magazines. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in English and philosophy and, a year before he graduated, landed a job as a copywriter with Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency, a position he kept for several years.

He published his first short story, Argosy, in 1951 and continued to pen short stories, usually Western-based, throughout the ’50s and ’60s, publishing his first novel, The Bounty Hunters, in 1953.

Two of his novels were turned into movies, including 3:10 To Yuma.

He later branched into the mystery and crime dramas and won many accolades throughout a long and distinguished career, including the F Scott Fitzgerald award in 2008 and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

He received a further lifetime achievement prize last year, which was presented at America’s National Book Awards.

Leonard also advised other people on how to write, publishing a best-selling guide in 2001, entitled 10 Rules of Writing, in which he advised people to keep their exclamation points under control and “never open a book with weather”.

In 2004, he revealed a little more about his own process, stating: “I always start with the characters. I get to page 300 and I start thinking about the ending.”

Leonard suffered a stroke earlier this month in Detroit and had been in hospital. He died at his home in the city’s Bloomfield Village suburb.

He is survived by five children, all from his first marriage, as well as 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He and his third wife Christine divorced last year.

Lisa Snowdon and Revenge Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger to host London Stiletto Strut

Lisa Snowdon

Story by Jack Foley

TO celebrate the publication of Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, the hotly anticipated sequel to the worldwide bestseller and smash-hit movie The Devil Wears Prada, HarperCollins Publishers are hosting the Stiletto Strut in central London on Thursday, June 20 to find the Ultimate Stiletto Queen.

The Stiletto Strut will be hosted by model and DJ Lisa Snowdon and the author of Revenge Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger.

Participants will be issued with their very own pair of bright yellow heels to wear on the day and will strut along a 50m black carpet in heats of 8, followed by semi-finals and a grand final — with one Strutter eventually crowned winner.

One stiletto Queen will win a 3-night trip to New York as well as a bespoke pair of gorgeous stilettos from Hobbs. There will also be fantastic prizes for second and third places supplied by the generous retailers of South Molton Street, while everyone who takes part in the Strut will receive a Revenge Wears Prada goody bag packed with treats.

Contestants will need to register online on www.revengewearsprada.co.uk to be in with a chance of taking part in the Stiletto Strut. A handful of people will also be selected at random on the day to take part in the Strut.