Between the Covers 05/08/2012

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

The book from which JK Rowling read (the beginning of J M Barrie's Peter Pan) at the Olympics opening ceremony was made for the occasion by the Wyvern Bindery in London. Inside the 10-page The Isles of Wonder – Between the Covers can exclusively reveal – were excerpts from Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and 101 Dalmations. The bindery produces everything from simple, cloth-bound books to fine bindings in goat skin, with gilded edges and hand tooling, and has made props for films including Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and Hugo. According to reports after the ceremony, some of the props, including Rowling's book, were put on eBay by enterprising volunteers and actors from Danny Boyle's extravaganza. The Isles of Wonder was for sale at a starting price of £30, plus £4.50 P&P (but has already reached hundreds of pounds). Those who miss out could always have their own copy of their favourite book bound by the company. It's £70 for full buckram, cloth or nubuck, with optional edge gilding at £30 an edge, and marbled endpapers at just £15.

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Between the Covers has long been a fan of the novelist and film maker Matt Thorne, so we're thrilled to report that his biography of Prince, which has been seven years in the writing, will be launched at a Faber Social Celebrates event in October, complete with a live Prince tribute band, and that members of the public will be able to buy tickets. Prince: A Celebration (Faber & Faber, £20, 4 October) contains interviews with Prince himself and with several members of his band The Revolution, including Wendy and Lisa. The launch party is on 26 October at The Social on Little Portland Street, London, with the band Purple Rain playing a set of songs designed to complement the book. "I'm very excited to see what they come up with," Thorne tells us. "They even do the rude songs the real Prince has now dropped from his set." Watch this space for details.

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There's mixed news for booksellers this summer. Between the Covers is told that bookshops in London have been all but deserted during the Olympics. Even at stores within the new Stratford Westfield Centre, next to the Olympic Park, customers are browsing, but not buying ... not even the autobiography of pool legend Ian Thorpe, The Swimmer. But the unpredictable weather has given book sales a lift, according to the latest data from Nielsen BookScan. Perhaps people are buying books set in sunny places.

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Following last week's story that winners of the Foyle Young Poets award are not only brainy but sporty, too, HarperCollins has just bought the rights to a new children's book by a teenager who is already a musical prodigy. Stefan Bachmann, an 18-year-old American who is studying at the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland, began writing The Peculiar when he was just 16; he has now sold UK and Commonwealth rights, and secured a deal in the US. It will be published in the UK in September, when Bachmann's musical compositions to accompany the book will also be released. His intro can be heard at: youtube.com/watch?v=CeNultsP1hk.

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