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Clearly, this is the solution for a writer who wishes to give his work a new lease of life: have the book proclaimed dead, deceased, an ex-book. Whereupon everybody gets indignant, says it's the best book they have ever read, and how could anyone live without it? Let this debate simmer nicely for a few months. And then, yessss! Find a new publisher who declares the book to be an essential accoutrement of life.

Clearly, this is the solution for a writer who wishes to give his work a new lease of life: have the book proclaimed dead, deceased, an ex-book. Whereupon everybody gets indignant, says it's the best book they have ever read, and how could anyone live without it? Let this debate simmer nicely for a few months. And then, yessss! Find a new publisher who declares the book to be an essential accoutrement of life.

Congratulations, then, to the 88-year-old Anthony Buckeridge, author of the Jennings books, who only a couple of months ago was bemoaning the fact that Macmillan no longer wished to publish his work. Understandable, maybe: total sales last year were a few hundred. But the kerfuffle caused by the announcement of Jennings's impending demise dramatically raised the profile of the forgotten schoolboy hero. Another publisher, House of Stratus, now promises Jennings a new life, with "old readers as well as new".

Subbuteo, salad cream, Jennings: life through death is a well-trodden path. If a marketing department is worried that a product's sales are falling - merely declare that it will never be produced again. Meanwhile, Mr Buckeridge can tell Macmillan: go boil your heads, you fossilised fishhooks!

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