Cover Stories: Political memoirs; the environmental Bible; Dorling Kindersley

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The Independent Culture

* Political memoirs have made headlines this week, though it remains to be seen if that translates into sales. Back when the late Richard Crossman published his memoirs in the 1970s, politicians had something to say and weren't just doing it for the money; publishers would fall over themselves to sign them up. Times change, and this week Paddy Ashdown signed with Aurum Press, a tiny publisher whom agent Michael Sissons would once not even have considered. And this despite his book being "packed with both political revelations and wonderful anecdotes". Ken Livingstone is now on the market, agented by Curtis Brown MD Jonathan Lloyd, whose portfolio includes Jeffrey Archer and Edwina Currie. Whom will he persuade to come to the table?

* HarperCollins UK – which has been battling to seize control of the green agenda, a move the US company finds frankly perplexing – used the annual Booksellers Association Conference to announce the publication of the first Bible to be printed on Forest Stewardship Council-approved paper. Available this autumn, it will include a study section showing what the scriptures have to say about the environment. Sadly it will come too late to have much impact on Bible-reading President Bush.

* Around the turn of the millennium, Dorling Kindersley was in trouble when it printed 18 million copies of Star Wars books. More than 10 million didn't sell, which led to DK's collapse and purchase by Pearson, owners of Penguin. So it's a surprise to learn that one of DK's summer highlights is a book based on a forthcoming film and TV series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars. No word on the print run, but the publisher is waxing lyrical on its "long, creative partnership" with the Star Wars enterprise and Lucas- film. Let's hope Pearson CEO Dame Marjorie Scar-dino has a close eye on the project – she wouldn't want her fat salary endangered.