Between the Covers 08/07/2012

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

Stand by for a literary clash of the titans when books by three of Britain's favourite women are released on the same date. Caitlin Moran's Moranthology (Ebury Press, £18.99), Val McDermid's The Vanishing Point (Little, Brown, £16.99) and Clare Balding's My Animals and Other Family (Viking, £20) are all released on 13 September, so save up your pocket money for collected, funny, feminist writing; a horrifying thriller about a stolen child; and the story of a life lived with horses and dogs. We can just imagine three male writers rolling up their sleeves to fight their way onto the bookshelves, but these three ladies have promised to put sales differences aside and help to promote each other's books. Between the Covers recommends buying all of them, at least once each.

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Banker, charmer, winner of the most-hated-man-in-Britain award … now it seems that Bob Diamond is also an author. Searching for his name on Amazon reveals that the best-selling book by Bob Diamond is – no, not How to Buy Friends and Influence Mortgage Rates, but Selling Air, published by iUniverse at £8.95. On second glance, this may be by a different Bob Diamond, as the subtitle is: How to Jump-start Your Career in Radio Sales. We hope that it has received a sales boost from the events of last week.

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Between the Covers looks forward with the greatest anticipation to the publication in November of Superlatives, by a mysterious author called "The Superlatist" (Short Books, £9.99). "The 21st century is, undoubtedly, the century of exaggeration," reads the blurb, so the intrepid author has travelled around Britain encountering "the world's best marketing campaign, the world's saddest cake … the world's most eligible bachelors, and the world's hardest bastard." The book is, appropriately, billed as "undoubtedly the funniest book ever published".

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It is no secret that Between the Covers is a big fan of paper books, and not very good with technology, so we welcome Independent Booksellers Week, and the chance for booksellers and customers to vote for their favourite novel with the Independent Booksellers' Week Book Award 2012. The adults and children's shortlists can be found at www.independentbooksellersweek.org.uk, but this is not an online award so readers should vote using the real paper leaflets that they can pick up from participating local bookshops. Meanwhile, The Booksellers' Association reveals that bookshops with cafés saw a 3 per cent growth in turnover in 2011, compared to a decline of 5.2 per cent in bookshops that only sell books. In bookshops with cafés, books accounted for 74 per cent of annual turnover. That's an awful lot of skinny lattes.

***

Between the Covers' favourite independent book shop this week is Halcyon Books in Greenwich, east London, which is currently having a bit of a tidy up. (It's always having a bit of a tidy up, and yet it never seems to get entirely tidy – this is why we like it.) Its owner, Matt Hubbard, tells us that he does own an ebook reader … but he doesn't really like it. We like it for that, too.

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