Friday 24 January 2020

Compass Points 334

Look out for a big piece in the Daily Mail this weekend on Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes (978 0745340791, £12.99, pb) in both the paper and online. This is an utterly explosive account of a secret group of mercenaries based on chilling new intelligence. Keenie Meenie Services are the most famous mercenary business you’ve never heard of, made up of war criminals from Sri Lanka to Oman. They’ve escaped both public perception and penalty, but in this book, extraordinary evidence (only recently declassified) exposes the extent of the war crimes that were committed and the British government’s tacit involvement. It includes testimonies from SAS veterans, spy chiefs, MPs and key figures involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the Iranian Embassy siege. Investigator Phil Miller asks, who were these mercenaries: heroes, terrorists, freedom fighters, or war criminals? There’s already been a big piece on this book in the Observer which you can read here  and there will be loads more with pieces in the Independent, Guardian, Financial Times, WIRED and Prospect and interviews on Novara Media, France 24 and Channel 4 News. It’s just been published by Pluto.

Terrific to see that Kogan Page have nine and Practical Inspiration have four titles shortlisted in the Business Book Awards 2020 which were announced last week. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on the 23rd of March.
Start-up Inspiration CategoryStart-Ups, Pivots and Pop-Ups: How to Succeed by Creating Your Own Business by  Richard Hall & Rachel Bell (9780749497460, £ 14.99) 
Sales and Marketing Category
Omnichannel Retail: How to build winning stores in a digital world by Tim Mason & Miya Knights (978 0749484460, £ 19.99)  
HR and Management  Category
Competitive People Strategy: How to Attract, Develop and Retain the Staff You Need for Business Success by Kevin Green (978 0749484545, £ 29.99) 
Driving Performance Through Learning: Develop Employees through Effective Workplace Learning by Andy Lancaster (978 0749497439, £ 19.99)
Strategic Human Resource Management: A HR Professional's Toolkit by Karen Beaven (978 0749484040, £29.99) 
The Robot-Proof Recruiter: A Survival Guide for Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals by Katrina Collier (9780749493226, £19.99). 
Specialist Book Category
The Business Analysis Handbook: Techniques and Questions to Deliver Better Business Outcomes by Helen Winter (978 0749497064, £29.99) 

International Business Book Category
The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI by Carlos Gil (978 0749497576, £14.99) 

An Exceptional Book that Promotes Diversity Category
Building an Inclusive Organization: Leveraging the Power of a Diverse Workforce by Stephen Frost & Raafi-Karim Alidina as  (978 0749484286, £ 29.99).
Sales and Marketing  Category
Your Business, Your Book: How to plan, write, and promote the book that puts you in the spotlight by Ginny Carter (9781788601306, £ 14.99) 
PR for Humans by Mike Sergeant (9781788600552, £ 15.99).
Start-up Inspiration Category
True Profit Business by Karen Skidmore (978 1788600842, £14.99) 
Specialist Book
The Customer Success Pioneer by Kellie Lucas (978 1788600392,  15.99) 
You can see the full shortlists at

All of us love the written word, so you may well enjoy this interesting article in History Today called Pause and Effect, about the past and future of punctuation marks.

A fabulous and extensive feature this month by the author of Yorkshire Coast Path (£14.99, pb, 978 0 9932911 8 0) on the walk in This is Yorkshire magazine. It’s produced by Welcome to Yorkshire (the Yorkshire tourist board), the print-run is 300,000, and it's distributed all over the county and as an insert in the Sunday Times and as an online version. The Yorkshire coast is the second most visited tourist destination in England, but astonishingly, until now there has been no walking guide to its entire length. Andrew Vine, an experienced walker and distinguished Yorkshire journalist, has put this right with this definitive walking guide, bursting with colour photos and covering whole route with OS large-scale maps. It’s published by Safe Haven.

As the world leaders disagree about which direction, we should go, it is inspiring to read Policy Press’s Generation Share (pb, £25, 978 1447350101) which takes readers on a journey around the globe to meet the people who are changing and saving lives by building a Sharing Economy. Through stunning photography, social commentary and interviews with 200 change-makers, it showcases extraordinary stories demonstrating the power of Sharing. From the woman transforming the lives of slum girls in India, to the UK entrepreneur who has started a food sharing revolution; readers can discover the creators of a life-saving human milk bank, a trust cafe and a fashion library who are changing the world. You see it here looking mighty fine on display at Blackwell’s at Kent uni – thanks guys!

Well done Jessica Andrews, who won the Portico Prize last night for her novel Saltwater. Jessica is the author of one of the stories in Comma’s new anthology The Book of Newcastle (£9.99, pb, 978 1905583102), so we are overjoyed to see her receive this award recognising exceptional Northern writing. The Book of Newcastle has itself had absolutely stellar reviews! Karen Langley, said here The Book of Newcastle is a stunning collection of writing, each story is clever, memorable and moving. I suppose it’s the measure of a really good book when you get to the end to find you wish there was more’. The Bright Star wrote 'I unwittingly tore through this collection in little over a day, which is undeniable testament to its vibrancy, virtuosity and command.' Number 9 called it 'engaging and easy-reading,' Cathy Castling said 'great writing has the ability to touch the reader, and the words of these authors definitely stay with you long after you've put the book down.' and  What Kate Read said  'I urge everyone to buy this book, whether familiar with Newcastle or not – explore the city’s past, its future, and its people, whether a trip of nostalgia, or an introduction to the North East.’ 

Congratulations to Practical Inspiration author Celia Gaze whose business won a major award this week. Her team at The Wellbeing Farm were crowned the UK Winners for Events Team of the Year at the National Wedding Industry Awards! All brilliant publicity of course for Why Put a Bow Tie on a Llama? How a Crazy Idea Can Change Your Life and Transform Your Business (pb, £12.99, 978 1788601245)

Comma announced today that they are working with Manchester Metropolitan University to launch a new MA in Publishing, you can read more on that in the Bookseller here. The course will include a focus on employability, supported by the university’s links with the publishing industry and local literature festivals, and an international focus backed by the Northern Fiction Alliance’s expertise in promoting translated literature. Livi Michael, leader of the course, said: ‘We are really excited about this MA which will enrich Manchester's incredibly vibrant landscape of independent presses and cultural opportunities, and reflect the growth of interest in it as a literary capital.’

A wonderful full-page interview with Alison Booth in the January issue of North East Lifestyle magazine talking about her new novel, The Philosopher’s Daughters (£8.99, pb 978 1913062149). This magazine has a print run of 15,500 copies per edition and readership 100,000+ per edition and you can read that article here – it’s on page 98. This is a tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession. It’s out from Red Door on 2 April.

An interesting interview with author Dan Hicks in History Today, who describes himself as ‘a contemporary archaeologist with an anthropological sense of the past’ and deeply mistrusts the phrase ‘global history.’ Good publicity for his book The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution (978 0745341767).
 Walk into any European museum today and you will see the curated spoils of Empire. They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date and place of origin. They do not mention that the objects are all stolen. In The Brutish Museums, Dan Hicks makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism. This is a hot topic at present – and there’s certain to be more on this book as we get closer to its publication by Pluto in August.

Absolutely loads of publicity for than Hype Yourself (978 1788601238. £14.99, pb) which is definitely leading to customer purchases as this title is flying out of the wholesalers (as well as being #91 on Amazon sales for ALL books ) so do make sure you are getting your share of the sales!! It’s out now from Practical Inspiration.

Have a look here to answer eight questions to find out which Little Women Character you are. Because we can't all be Jo, right?

And in this week’s Hot Topics, here's The Bookseller’s opinion on that Blackwell’s terms letter, here's the trailer for the Taylor Swift documentary and here's everything you need to know about the Coronavirus.

That’s all folks, more next week!

This weekly blog is written for the UK book trade. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please talk to your Compass Sales Manager, or call the Compass office on 020 8326 5696. Every Friday an e-newsletter containing highlights from the blog is sent out to over 700 booksellers and if you’d like to receive this then please contact

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