The Bookseller has a very nice feature on Estate Publishing on the back of the news about HarperCollins acquiring the worldwide rights to Agahta Christie’s work. Best thing in the magazine this week if you ask me (with the possible exception of an editorial by James Bridle).
He says dealing with the estates requires patience and tenacity: it took seven years of discussions with the Tolkien estate before it agreed for HC to release e-books. His first meeting with the Tolkien estate in 1995 involved him having seven publishing ideas in a row shot down. It was, he says, “the most humiliating morning”.
“You sometimes sit and think ‘have I gone native? Am I asking sufficiently challenging questions?'” he says. “You need to make sure you are not assuming too much. I’m fairly confident I’ve got the right perspective. You keeping chipping away.”
The wonderful people over at The Book Depository have rolled out a free ebook program. Kieron Smith, Managing Director of The Book Depository, said [in their press release]:
We wanted to give our customers a really wonderful present this Christmas. We’re continually working to increase the number of books that we have available on our website – 2.4 million at present, which is an unparalled number. Ebooks are much talked about at the moment but difficult for people to try, this gives people a chance to experiment, read something new and try ebooks all at no risk and free of charge.
We’ve not launched ebooks for sale as yet, but will do soon, this promotion is a great way for us to start talking to our customers about what they want from the format.
Quite wonderfully in my opinion, the program uses PDF. After all most people who don’t know anything about ebooks, know about PDF and feel confident in downloading them. I think the ebook program is nicely executed. It is smooth, fits into the rest of the site where you would expect it and offers something very interesting to readers.
I’m hoping this also drives print sales for The Book Depository’s Dodo Press. I’ve downloaded these two (1,2) for free, what will you get?
The Telegraph offers a fine list with it’s suggested top 110 books. My particular happiness being awoken by the inclusion of Waugh’s classic trilogy:
Sword of Honour trilogy
A poignant, ironic study of the disintegration of aristocratic values in the face of blank bureaucracy and Second World War butchery, Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender are Waugh’s crowning achievements.
And the inclusion of Taylor’s frankly exhilarating work:
The Origins of the Second World War
Was Hitler all that bad? Wasn’t he just an opportunist who took advantage of Anglo-French dithering and appeasement? The label ‘iconoclastic’ applies to few historians so well as it does to Taylor.
But dampened by the lack of Frost in the poetry section, ah well no list is perfect.