Books: Cover Stories

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
WITH SIMPSONS - allegedly the inspiration for Are You Being Served? - having closed its doors, there's increasing speculation on the future of Piccadilly book-selling. One rumour has the venerable Hatchards quitting its site down the road to set up shop in the Simpsons building; the other has the Waterstone's name over the door with Hatchards moving to become a "Hatchards at Waterstone's". HMV Media Group, which owns both, is keeping mum. Intriguingly, the prestigious Hatchards site is owned by the Maudsley and Bethlehem Hospital. Could there be an apter metaphor for the madness of British bookselling?

u

BERYL BAINBRIDGE has yet another chance of making it to the altar. Master Georgie, which many critics agreed should have won the Booker, is shortlisted for the pounds 10,000 W H Smith Literary Award. This time she's up against Alan Bennett, Hilary Spurling, Anthony Beevor, William Boyd and Julian Barnes in another mixed-bag contest. Robert Harris, one of TV's talking heads for Booker night and a Bainbridge supporter, is chairman of the judges.

u

REMEMBER J R HARTLEY's long search for his book on fly fishing? Now authors, and indeed the rest of us, can dispense with the Yellow Pages and search on the net. The first online second-hand bookshop has just opened at: www.booklovers.co.uk. Booklovers offers good quality second- hand books in a wide variety of categories. Each title is described and quality-graded, making it possible to "browse" as one would in a real bookshop. Searches can be conducted by author, title or keyword.

u

FRANK HERBERT's 1965 novel Dune has become a SF classic, selling some 10m worldwide. Now his son Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J Anderson of X-Files fame, is finishing a three-volume "prelude" which will tell us what happened before Dune opens. The first will come from Hodder this autumn. The trilogy is based on notes left by Herbert, who died in 1976, and on conversations between father and son.

u

SUBTLE IS not among the words ever applied to PR stunts. On 4 February, customers at Virgin Megastores who buy a copy of Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees's collaborative novel Come Together will get a free condom. Meanwhile, its publishers Arrow have just sent journalists a packet of three. Thanks, guys, but it's the unprotected hype we worry about.

Comments