Cover Stories: Bloomsbury's expansion; SMS worries; Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize

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The Independent Culture

Bloomsbury, who will this year grow even fatter on HP6, did a little Christmas shopping of its own, treating itself to the $6.5m purchase of Walker Publishing Company, thus ending its 45 years of independence.

Bloomsbury, who will this year grow even fatter on HP6, did a little Christmas shopping of its own, treating itself to the $6.5m purchase of Walker Publishing Company, thus ending its 45 years of independence. At a stroke, the move greatly enhances Bloomsbury's American presence and global profile. The takeover is a bittersweet move for Walker President and Publisher George Gibson, a charismatic figure notable for ringing a little-known writer named Dava Sobel and suggesting she turn her Harvard Review article on longitude into a book. Not only did Longitude become an international bestseller, it also launched a whole new genre.

* While parents are once again being advised to keep their kids away from mobile phones, Macmillan is running what's claimed to be the first interactive poster campaign for Teen Idol, the new novel from Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries. The vast posters will remain on bus shelters in busy town centres until at least Monday and each contains infra-red Hypertag units which can communicate with infra-red mobiles: once activated, the poster downloads vouchers telling users if they have won one of a range of prizes. The publisher enjoyed success with a Princess Diaries SMS Club and sees this latest campaign as a new way of engaging young readers. Parents may be less than pleased...

* Poet, novelist and playwright Glyn Maxwell has been awarded the 2004 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for his 2002 poetry collection The Nerve, published by Picador. The judges, Alan Jenkins, Kathleen Jamie and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, described the poems as "beautiful, disorientating and haunting". Maxwell will publish his next collection, The Sugar Mile, in March.

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