Cover Stories

Oxfam bookshops; GreenMetropolis.com; Martin Sixsmith; Bruce Oldfield; Carole Caplin; British Library

Books are a staple of Oxfam stores and now there are some 60 dedicated Oxfam bookshops with around a dozen more due to open next year. And, increasingly, the charity is doing deals with publishers to buy books that would otherwise have been pulped or remaindered. The Oxford store, for example, now boasts a good stock of OUP and BBC titles - a good thing to know as the spending spree that constitutes the annual season of goodwill gets under way. By buying from a charity shop, one is giving twice - to the charity as well as the gift recipient.

Meanwhile, GreenMetropolis.com, the secondhand online bookshop is adding hardbacks to its vast paperback selection. Like the paperbacks, they will be priced at just £3.75, but, unlike with the lighter-weight paperbacks, buyers will be charged postage. Five pence from each sale will be donated to the Woodland Trust, one of Britain's leading conservation charities.

If you can cast your mind back beyond more recent political scandals and crises to September 11, you may remember the fallout from the email that suggested that, with world attention centred on New York, it was a good moment to bury bad news. The two spinners associated with it - civil servants Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith - resigned. Next spring, Sixsmith, formerly a BBC journalist, will make his debut as a novelist. Spin, as his book is rather predictably titled, is described by its publishers Macmillan as "a stiletto-sharp, hilarious political satire".

Barnardo's boy Bruce Oldfield has done well for himself, designing outfits for everyone from Princess Diana to Dame Edna Everage, and next autumn he celebrates his 30th anniversary in the business. To mark the occasion, he is writing his memoirs, to be published by Hutchinson. They will include "a very personal account of his childhood and of the mother he never knew".

Inevitably, Carole Caplin, Cherie Blair's former confidante and style guru, has to go into print. But not to tell all, or not yet. Instead, she is writing "an integrated, multi-dimensional approach to the many different lifestyle alternatives available" to men and women, based on the "holistic principles and practices" of her company, LifeSmart. Alan Samson is the buyer, at Weidenfeld

The British Library has dipped into its sound archive for a CD that brings together some of the 20th century's greatest children's writers, reading extracts from their own work. The Spoken Word: Children's Writers, on sale through bookshops, including the British Library bookshop, and online, price £9.95, features A A Milne, J R R Tolkien, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman. It is the latest CD release from the BL in a series that includes writers and poets.

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