Friday 3 April 2020

Compass Points 344

Good afternoon booksellers, I hope that everyone is keeping safe and well. This will be the last Compass Points for a while. As we know, although plenty of customers are still buying books, bookshops are closed and festivals, launch parties, readings etc are postponed, so there is not going to be much marketing and publicity news to relay to you over the next few months! I look forward to coming back some time in the summer with lots of fun events to tell you about and plenty more fabulous books for you to order! In the meantime, of course Compass IPS is still very much here for you. Questions about trade titles should go to and academic titles to   

With life seeming ever scarier and more difficult, The Simplicity Principle: Six Steps Towards Clarity in a Complex World (£14.99, hb, 978 1789663556) by Julia Hobsbawm OBE is what we need. You can hear her talking about it here on the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast. Published this week by Kogan Page, during the pandemic that was unimaginable when it was written, this book passes the ultimate test: its principles retain their power and relevance despite the seismic shift that’s taken place in the world. Essential listening.

Dot-to-dot puzzles are the ideal popular pastime for now, giving all generations the opportunity to while away the hours uncovering the scenes, faces and creatures hidden within the dots. The range of activity books from Southwater, take dotting to the next level, each offering 40 intriguing pictures to discover. Intricate, challenging and rewarding to finish, the puzzles range from 136 to 1098 dots and will have you transfixed as you progress from dot to dot and gradually recognise what you have drawn. They are all £7.99, 96 pages, 282 x 216mm and the ISBNs are listed below.
Famous Paintings: 9781780194967
Amazing Animals: 9781780194950
Famous Landmarks: 9781780194943
Famous Faces: 9781780194936
Mystery and Magic: 9781780195131
Ancient World: 9781780195117
Under the Sea: 9781780195148
Natural World: 9781780195124
Outsized editions are also available, great for families to do together! These each have 20 floor puzzles and are £5.99, 24 pages, 400 x 344mm
Giant Join the Dots - Amazing Animals: 9781780195032
Giant Join the Dots - Famous Landmarks: 9781780195018
Giant Join the Dots - Famous Paintings: 9781780195025
Giant Join the Dots - Famous Faces: 9781780195001

The Booksellers Association is regularly updating its page of advice for booksellers during the pandemic here with coronavirus resources and they'll continue to give you help and share advice as they continue to monitor the situation.

To mark the publication of Resist (pb, £12.99, 978 1912697311) in the US and its forthcoming paperback release on 21 May in the UK from Comma, Literary Hub have published Kamila Shamsie's contributing story Savage, which you can read here.

For those looking for calming activities at home, look no further than the colouring in titles from Southwater. For young and old alike, these beautiful activity books will provide hours of peace in an increasingly stressful world. In each unique colour-by-numbers book, the 45 illustrations have been separated into segments marked with a number. Each number corresponds to one of 12 colours on a palette guide provided. Patterns from Nature (978 1780195070) and Relaxing Patterns (978 1780195063) are both £7.99, 96 pages, 282 x 216mm. There are loads more great activity titles on the Anness website at

Pieces of Me (£8.99, pb, 978 1787198036 )which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel and Prima Magazine called ‘an astounding debut' has been shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award which you can read more about here. It’s published by Legend.

One of the contributors to Comma’s forthcoming Book of Shanghai (pb, £9.99, 978 1912697274), Chen Qiufan, is speaking on BBC World Service tomorrow about writing dystopic science-fiction in China amidst the corona crisis. Do tune in! The characters in this literary exploration of one of the world’s biggest cities are all on a mission. Whether it is responding to events around them, or following some impulse of their own, they are defined by their determination – a refusal to lose themselves in a city that might otherwise leave them anonymous, disconnected, alone. From the neglected mother whose side-hustle in collecting sellable waste becomes an obsession, to the schoolboy determined to end a long-standing feud between his family and another, these characters show a defiance that reminds us why Shanghai – despite its hurtling economic growth –remains an epicentre for individual creativity.

Gardners are reinstating their home delivery service, after temporarily closing last week due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The move will allow bookshops to service remote customer orders from their websites or via telephone. The wholesaler confirmed it had ‘managed to set a safe working environment for a team of staff, adhering to guidelines previously set out, and working comfortably within current government guidelines.’ Customers will be restricted to ordering one book per order, to preserve the safety guidelines surrounding minimal handling of items. Booksellers responded positively on Twitter to the news. Booka Bookshop tweeted: ‘Really appreciate the lengths you’ve gone to deliver a safe and workable solution to support the indie bookselling sector’. In response to a question about delivering to bookshops, Gardners added: ‘That will follow in due course, we are reviewing each area as we go, first and foremost our staff need a safe working environment.’ You can read more on that in the Bookseller here.

We were very pleased to see that Rebecca Elson’s A Responsibility to Awe (pb, £12.99,
 978 1784106553), was the Poem of the Week in last week’s Guardian. You can read it here. Elson was an astronomer. Her work took her to the boundary of the visible and measurable, involving research into ‘dark matter’ and as the Guardian writes, the poem ‘includes readers by its imaginative accessibility and universal theme. A Responsibility to Awe was first published in 2001, and was reissued in 2018 as a Carcanet Classic. To read Elson’s brave and gentle work during the current pandemic crisis is to take a fresh breath, and to see a little farther.’

There are quite a few organisations in the UK at the moment who are going to be looking for the key ingredients for successfully delivering large projects and Tony Llewellyn’s Big Teams is what they need! This week it reached #1 on Amazon in Hot New Releases in Project Management and there’s been some good coverage including an article for the PI Medium page 'Leading Big Teams in the 21st century’, that’s here, a three-page featured extract in the March issue of The HR Director and an article and review in Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management.

During the corona crisis some people are finding their homes have never been cleaners as millions of people stuck indoors, look for something to occupy themselves with. At the same time, millions of others are finding that their houses have never been messier, as families all squashed in together, cause chaos and disruption! Practical Tidiness: How to clear your clutter and make space for the important things in life (£12, 978 0754834878, bb) by Martha Roberts which is out from Lorenz on 30 April is just what they need. Humans need order, calm and sanctuary in a chaotic and frankly frightening world, and this inspired handbook gives practical pointers on how to start, working through your home room by room to find order in your life, with lots tips on how to tackle the physical and mental gremlins you may encounter along the way.

Titles for those who like to prep rather than panic are selling well, and Southwater have a good one! Survival: The ultimate practical guide to staying alive in extreme conditions and emergency situations in all environments, anywhere in the world (£11.99, pb, 9781780191034) is ilustrated with 1400 photographs and illustrations, including step-by-step sequences throughout, and will show you how to protect your your loved ones whatever the conditions.

Vertebrate have a great blog page entitled Ten Ways to keep Yourself Entertained if You’re Self-Isolating which you can read here. It includes lots of top recommendations to get both adult and child readers through the next few months. 

The power of the state versus the good of the nation is a topic that is going to be much in the news for the foreseeable future, so a good time to talk about Enemies of the People: How Judges Shape Society (£14.99, 978-1529204506) by Joshua Rozenberg. The Critic published an extended article written by Rozenberg on the 23rd of March discussing the book and current affairs titled ‘Supremely Impartial‘ which you can read here and the Law Gazette published an article written by Rozenberg titled ‘An Insider’s Account of the Brenda Agenda’ on the 3rd of February which you can read here. It’s out on 21 April from Bristol University Press.

And finally, like many I have been very inspired by the words of David Hockney, who urged us to remember that ‘these days will pass …. and do remember that they can’t cancel the spring.’ You can read more from him, and look at the wonderful pictures here.

In this week’s Hot Topics, here's a link to the fifty best Coronavirus memes,  here's a link to the Virtual Pub Quiz, here's a link to an exciting announcement from Andrew Lloyd Webber, here's a link to Yoga with Adriene, here's a link to PE with Joe and here's a link to the National Theatre performance of One Man, Two Guvnors!

That’s all for now folks, more when the virus allows!

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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