Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Booker Prize

For the last 4 years, we have run a Booker Book Challenge.  

It worked like this. When the Shortlist was announced, we'd get in copies of the books and challenge our customers to read as many of they could before the winner was announced, about 5-6 weeks later. For a one off payment of £25, we became a lending library, where instead of forking out up to £80-£90 on the shortlist, people could borrow each of the books from the shop and at the end keep their favourite. 
We also offered 20% off all the books (unheard of!).

We'd then meet on the evening that the winner was announced and discuss each of the books, choosing our own winner, before watching the result live on TV.

It was really popular and we loved that so many people got involved.

The shortlist is being announced today, but we're not going to be running it this year. 
It doesn't make me happy to do this and it won't make a blind bit of difference to the Booker Prize organisers, but (and I've been banging on about this for a while now) there is still a book on the longlist, a longlist that was announced OVER A MONTH AGO, that isn't even published!

There are a number of issues about this that piss me off. Here's the main one. 

To be eligible to enter the Man Booker Prize novels must be published between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014 in the UK 

However, this is another one of the rules;
Publishers, I suspect knowing that the organisers would do nothing, ignored it completely. 
The organisers did nothing. 

How are bookshops expected to support and champion this prize, if our customers aren't given the opportunity to READ the books. Yes, I could have got in touch with the publishers and got advanced reading copies for myself to read, but that really isn't the point. 
Actually, it is the point. Because it seems to me that the Prize has little to do with the public. It seems to be becoming an inclusive, industry focused love in. 
This is an important year for the Man Booker Prize. They've changed the rules, so that now all English-language writers are eligible (don't get me started on this). So for the first year, I might not be able to read books by US authors too!

++ Update ++
The shortlist has just been announced and the six books on it are published. One was published last week and one was published 10 days ago. Both these titles broke the rules of the Booker Prize.
I hope that next year, the Booker Prize organisers ensure that the rules are adhered to, and act if publishers ignore them. Because until they don't, we won't be supporting the Prize.


amro said...

Plus A C Grayling is a poseur and pretentious as hell.

Anna Purna said...


Anna Purna said...

Hi Amro, had no idea you were here! I'm RJB from FB. So you're a Wood Greener? Hello, you are missed from Fb. And hello Pushkin!

Anonymous said...

I just don't get the rules for this award. For example, the date range during which the book must have been published doesn't follow a natural calendar year which would be so much simpler to follow. Like you I'm irritated that a book I can't get hold off has been listed …..