We’ve just had a four day sales conference here at Compass Towers, where we found out about all of the fabulous new titles that our publishers will be bringing out this autumn. Thank you so much to everyone who came and presented their books – I look forward to spreading the word about them in the coming weeks!There have been some terrific displays all over the country for lots of our books, which you can see below! Thanks very much to all you lovely booksellers! You can see below: The Waves Burn Bright by Iain Maloney (Freight) in Waterstone’s Glasgow; a wonderful window for The Huntingfield Paintress (Urbane) by Pamela Holmes at Daunt Books in Hampstead; 60 Degrees North (Birlinn) by Malachy Tallack at the Lord Crewe Arms in Hexham; a great new short stories section including lots of titles from Freight at Queens Park Books London; Life of Elves (Gallic) and its author Muriel Barbery at Blackwell’s Holborn and Librarie La Page in South Kensington; a whole table of And Other Stories in Foyles on the South Bank; a great display for As If I Were A River by Amanda Saint (Urbane) in Waterstone’s Lancaster; a truly inventive and beautiful window for Wild Swimming Walks (Wild Things) by Sophie Pierce and Matt Newbury at Dartmouth Books; and finally a super window for The Night He Left (Freight) by Sue Lawrence in Waterstone’s Dundee! We LOVE them all!
Sir Malcolm Rifkind is a genuine political heavyweight. His career has been as glittering as it has been long-lived; serving as a minister for eighteen years – longer than anyone since Lord Palmerston in the nineteenth century. Coming in July is Politics and Pragmatism: The Memoirs of Malcolm Rifkind. This is a major political biog and an important historical document that includes frank reflections from a top-ranking political career and the many personalities encountered along the way. Informed and stimulating, but also more relaxed, amusing and readable than most books of this genre; Rifkind’s memoirs include his battles with Margaret Thatcher over Scotland, explain how he helped change Polish history during the Cold War, describe his presence at the Gorbachev–Thatcher summit and tell how he served as both Defence Minister and Foreign Secretary during some of the most turbulent years of the late twentieth century. The book also covers Rifkind’s years working with MI6 and the CIA and both spies and those spied upon – Rifkind is currently banned from Russia by President Putin. This is a book about the past and the future and there will be a major press campaign and serialisation in a national newspaper. Politics and Pragmatism: The Memoirs of Malcolm Rifkind (pb, 978 1785900037, £20.00) is published by Biteback and you can find out more here.
We love a successful indie bookshop story, so we were very pleased to hear about The White Horse in Marlborough as reported in The Bookseller. Two years ago it closed its doors after more than 60 years as a result of declining sales. That same year, BA Association figures revealed that the number of independent bookshops in the UK had fallen below 1,000. The combination prompted two city executives to act. They stepped in to “draw a line in the sand” regarding the decline of indie bookshops in the UK and bought the freehold of the White Horse, maintaining that “no town is worth its salt without a thriving bookshop”. Since then, the indie has increased its stock from 10,000 to 20,000 titles, and doubled sales. The shop is now making a profit which “exceeds all expectations” according to Angus MacLennan, general manager of the indie, who has masterminded its turnaround. Its newest phase – an expansion of the 16th century building to add a gallery and events space at the rear of the bookshop and art shop – has just been completed, along with an expansion and refurbishment of the existing art studio and the addition of a bespoke children’s area. The aim is to turn the venue into a cultural hub to attract yet more shoppers. MacLennan explained the secret to the shop’s transformation: “The event space was non-existent – that was our back yard. Now we can have proper events and we hope to hold an event every two weeks. We will also hire it out as a community space for business talks and society talks. Selling books is still the main part of what we do. The more people you can get to visit you, the better.” The new-look shop had its grand re-opening on 12th May, which was attended by more than 200 guests.
The TLS called Yasmina Khadra “A skilled storyteller working at the height of his powers” and the Independent said he was “world-class”. He has sales of 3 million on 42 countries, and his previous novel, The Swallows of Kabdul was shortlisted for The IMPAC award. In August comes his new book: The Angels Die (pb, 978 1908313911, £8.99) which is published by Gallic. This is the dramatic story of one man’s rise from abject poverty to a life of wealth and adulation, and is a stunning panorama of life in Algeria between the two world wars. Khadra gives an inside view on global conflict religious intolerance and prejudice and you can find out more about him and The Angels Die here.
An interesting blog piece here from the Bookseller on what makes a “real” book – can a pacy thriller really be seen in the same light as high-brow literary work? Does being lauded but not well-read make a book more real than a disposable “beach read” discarded, dog-eared, by the poolside?
IKEA: love ‘em or hate ‘em? Whichever it is, the company who the Mail on Sunday referred to as “the flat-pack Fuhrer” is now as much a part of the global landscape as Disney or Coke. Surprisingly, the firm appears to have escaped any sort of moral scrutiny or serious examination how it unpacked its global empire over two decades. In The Truth about IKEA, insider Johan Stenebo reveals for the first time in close-up detail the brilliance of the flatpack giant in growing its business, as well as where it fell short of its green ideals, exposing the nepotism and murky financial dealings behind Sweden’s iconic export. Casting an insider’s eye over the practical application of the ‘IKEA philosophy,’ Stenebo provides an exclusive view inside this successful profit machine, and how Ingvar Kamprad secretly became one of the world's richest men. The Truth About IKEA is the only book to tell the inside tale of IKEA's astonishing success of growth. The Financial Times called it “racy”, the Guardian “explosive” and the Independent “merciless”. The Truth About IKEA (pb, £9.99 978 1908096074) is published in paperback by Gibson Square in August and you can find out more about it here.
Whatever you think of the furniture, who doesn’t love a crazy (and rude) IKEA advert!
What to call your new sprog is one of the first – and possibly the most important decisions that new parents will face. Will you go traditional (Arthur and Mabel), biblical (Noah and Abel) or trashy (Chardonnay and Sable)? Baby Names by Ella Joynes is the bestselling UK book on this topic, containing over 8,000 names. It includes pop culture and superstar trends, the latest royal and celebrity baby names, top names in different countries, loads of advice and guidance as well helpful tips on dealing with family expectations! This popular annually updated title is now on its 8th edition with over 60,000 copies sold. Pregnancy and Birth called it "inspiring and original" and Mother & Baby magazine said "This will help make your job easier". Baby Names 2017 (pb, £6.99, 9781910336137) by Ella Joynes is published by Crimson Publishers in August and you can find out more here.
And have a look here at the Top Ten Awkward Baby Names from Mojo.com!
Loads of publicity is kicking in right now for The Lockerbie Bombing by Kenny MacAskill (£20.00, hb, 978 1785900723). The two-part serialisation has begun in the Sunday Times with the second part this Sunday; there’s been a front page story in the Scottish Daily Mail and also coverage for it in the Times, the Record, the Scotsman, the National the Guardian, and on BBC.co.uk and Radio 5 Live. On 21, December 1988, Pan Am flight 103 left London Heathrow for New York. Shortly after take-off, a bomb detonated, killing all aboard and devastating the small Scottish town of Lockerbie below. Only one man has ever been convicted of the crime, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. However, few people believe that the bombing was carried out by a single individual. In 2009 al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds by the author of this title, Kenny MacAskill who was Scotland’s Justice Secretary from 2007-14. The release from prison and deportation back to Libya caused a political controversy in the UK and severely damaged Anglo-American relations. This book lifts the lid on what became known as The Lockerbie Bombing and is the definitive story, casting a new light on the affair. Find out more and order it here.
A nice piece in the Bookseller this week about And Other Stories who will be publishing the next five novels from 2015 Man Booker International Prize finalist César Aira. The first book, The Seamstress and the Wind (£7.99, pb 978 1908276841), which we told you about a few weeks ago, will be published on 21st July. It tells the story of a seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress in a small town in Argentina. All of a sudden she fears that her son has been kidnapped and driven off to Patagonia. She gives chase in a taxi. Her husband finds out and takes off after her – to the end of the world, to the place where monsters are born, and where the southern wind falls hopelessly in love.And Other Stories describe César Aira’s books as “madcap, eccentric, literary crack” and if you’d like some, you can order The Seamstress and the Wind here
If you’re planning on writing that great novel – have you started it yet or can you just never find the time? Those who are truly committed believe you can always find a moment to write; some get up at 4 am, some use their commute on a bus or train to scribble down the next chapter. Some writers may well empathise more with Jo Ely who got her first novel Stone Seeds written by skipping the housework and writing when her kids were in school or asleep. She feels that “writing dystopian or speculative fiction allowed her to go to places where I wouldn’t normally be allowed, and to say much more than I could get away with in a real-life setting.” Read more about that on WordPress here . Stone Seeds is a sci-fi action thriller where the characters have to use every last ounce of their youthful courage, ingenuity and flawed humanity to keep themselves and hope alive in a world of menace. Bestselling author Sophie King said of it “Your imagination, your facility for sumptuous prose, and your deft handling of the story’s psychological and emotional content are hugely impressive, and Stone Seeds is a very good book.” Jo Ely has had short stories published already, and was shortlisted for the Fish International Short Story Prize. Stone Seeds (pb, £8.99, 978 1910692875) is her debut novel, it’s published by Urbane and you can find out more about it here.
What is the connection between the silent comedy of film stars like Charlie Chaplin and the Communist avant garde? Well, according to a new title just out from Pluto Press, they have much more in common than you might at first imagine! The Chaplin Machine: Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde by Owen Hatherley explores the tragic-comedic story of the cinema, art and architecture of the early 20th century and spotlights the unlikely intersections of the East and West. Could Buster Keaton have starred in Battleship Potemkin? Did Trotsky plan to write the great Soviet comedy? And why did Lenin love circus clowns? The Chaplin Machine reveals the lighter side of the Communist avant-garde and, in particular, its unlikely passion for American slapstick.
You can see Owen Hatherley talking about this intriguing title in a short promo video on YouTube here. And you can order The Chaplin Machine (pb, 978 0745336114, £16.99) here.
And to finish with a bit of humour, let’s have a look at what Owen refers to as the “famous trinity” of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Enjoy!
Compass is on Twitter! Follow us @CompassIPS. Here are some of our favourite tweets from this week...
Pushkin Press @PushkinPress It's a veritable boom! Translated fiction sells better than English fiction, a study finds…
Dr. James D. Boys @jamesdboys @HillaryClinton will secure the nomination on June 7. To find out how, order Hillary Rising from @BitebackPub
Urbane Publications @urbanepub @Pammieholmes with A.N Wilson at the launch of The Huntingfield Paintress @NewJournal #mustread
Tristan Gooley @NaturalNav Wild Swimming Walks in Dartmoor and South Devon. Nice. Sounds like a recipe book for feeling alive.
Linda Henderson @LindaTeaDragon Just back from @UllapoolBookFes - excellent & make way for The Brilliant and Forever @Kevin_MacNeil and his amazing talking alpaca. Joyful!
AuthorEmmaClapperton @EmmaLClapperton Great night @wdclibraries for @NeilMackay's The Wolf Trial event. Fantastic chat. Thanks for signing my book Neil.
Urbane Publications @urbanepub Great news!! The very talented @SupernovaQ has signed with Urbane for her second novel. The Secret Wound will publish spring 2017! Chuffed!
St. David's Press @StDavidsPress St David’s Press is delighted to appoint @CompassIPS as its sales and marketing representatives.
Freight Books @FreightBooks Treats: "Practically each story is a punch in the throat in its own right." SoLittleTimeForBooks.co.uk
That’s all for now folks! More next week!This blog is taken from a newsletter which is sent weekly to over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then click here or talk to your Compass Sales representative.