Cover Stories: Lady Thatcher, Harvill, Amazon

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The Independent Culture

Lady Thatcher's enforced vow of public silence will not stop her taking to the road to promote Statecraft. She will be signing in London at Hatchards and Selfridges, and at Waterstone's, Birmingham. Nor has she cancelled her appearances at Politico's fifth birthday dinner, a £100 per head affair at the Savoy, or at the Foyles Literary Lunch (a snip at £60), when she will be joined by half the members of her old cabinet – the dry half, naturally. She will be only the second guest ever not to speak there. In April 1964, John Lennon was feted for In His Own Write. While cartoonist Sir Osbert Lancaster spoke of the Beatles' talent, Lennon managed only "thank you, God bless you". He did, however, sign copies of his book – just as Lady T will do.

As Christopher MacLehose and a few colleagues move from Harvill to Random House, it's possible that other factors apart from a tough market played a part in the independent firm's demise. Too many staff were employed for a company turning over £3m: of more than 20, fewer than five will transfer to Random House. While RH has acquired a distinguished chunk of literary history, it has also taken on liabilities above £2m. Harvill is now just another RH imprint, with MacLehose as publisher. Used to keeping odd hours, he will have to accustom himself to a more routine life. The front door at Vauxhall Bridge Road is locked before midnight, which is when MacLehose used to pop round the corner to his offices to put in a bit of extra time.

Anyone wishing to buy children something more than an egg this weekend should log on to www.Amazon.co.uk for a range of children's titles, including Tolkien, Pullman and Rowling. Until 8 April, not only will the books have 30 per cent off, but Amazon will donate £1 for each copy sold to the National Literary Trust.

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