BBC Article on literary prizes and the future of publishing

Discussion in 'Writing' started by PeteMC, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. PeteMC

    PeteMC @PeteMC666

    Apr 21, 2010
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    Did anyone else see this?

    It's interesting that the only reference to e-publishing in the whole article is an acknowledgement that Fifty Shades of Gray "came out of the depths of the internet".

    Admittedly e-books are nowhere near as popular (or even heard of) in the UK as they are in the States, but I wonder if this just the BBC making its usual attempt at cultural elitism or if it's a real reflection of the non genre-reading public's perception. Thoughts, anyone?

    Edit: there is also this statement "As a result, shoals of agents and publishers are cruising like basking sharks in the shallows of fan fiction on the look out for the next unpredictable phenomenon." which I think is highly unlikely, but as ever I could be wrong!
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  2. Window Bar

    Window Bar We Read for Light

    Nov 19, 2009
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    Hiya Pete--

    Interesting. I would have thought it was the other way around. I've sold more books in the UK than in the US, even though we have 5x the population. Hmmm, maybe I need to re-think the figures. Perhaps the reading population of the UK is higher.
  3. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

    Jul 16, 2001
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    Oh dear.

    Think it is, though that is based on some data read somewhere not to hand at the moment. Remember that most non-genre readers read a couple of fiction books per year, usually on holiday....

    Well, yes: where one leads, others follow. Not the first case of this, though there will no doubt be more. The appearance of books with similar covers to 50 Shades for those looking for 'something like' reflects that.

    See also the hooded figure/female back phenomenon that has been in Fantasy fiction covers the last few years. Like sharks, though.... hmmm. More purple prose from the writer (see first example above.)

  4. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

    Apr 14, 2008
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    E-book sales rose in England by 366% - a May article easily found by Googling "UK Britain ebooks".

    What I suspect you have in this article is elitism at its (cough) finest. The publishing old guard would love "50 Shades of Grey" to be the scorned-at representative of e-books in general, but that's never been the case.

    I think most of the old publishing houses are resigned to e-books and are making the transition, albeit begrudgingly. Same for the old guard, although you still have some folks trying to keep out writers based solely on the media they write in.

  5. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Mar 22, 2003
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    The point of the article had nothing to do with e-books. Not everything is about e-books, guys, seriously. Fifty Shades of Gray was mentioned because it's the current phenom book, along with Rowling, and at this point, it's sold tons and tons of print copies.

    The point of the article was about the economic power of literary prizes to make bestsellers out of winners and nominees. And that makes the article dated by about twenty years. Literary prizes have been powerhouse pumpers since the 1990's. That's why I'm always poo-pooing the claim that "literary" fiction doesn't sell and commercial does. It's big business, with the prizes being the top tier. The article is looking at how the Mann Booker and such have created big sellers, with film deals and whatnot, so if you're not writing "commercial" fiction that wins big like Harry Potter, your best bet is to try and be a lottery winner of a lit prize to win big, is what they are saying.

    What they are basically saying is that prize winning works well as word of mouth and for educational adoption -- a big market, which is not news. And also, see how powerful the U.K. book awards are! Which has nothing to do with the paper-electronic issues. The BBC, the Guardian, etc., have all done tons of articles about e-books -- some of which you've dragged links to in here -- so the British media are hardly ignoring that part of the industry. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the BBC is up to its neck in the electronics content industry, including e-books, tie-ins, downloading video and magazine files through Amazon, etc.