Sunday, June 15, 2008

Richard & Judy Sell Books

The UK has its own book selling machine similar to Oprah's Book Club. The Richard and Judy show's support of books has had an impressive impact on bookselling in the UK. The TimesOnline has a profile:
Franklin admits that, like many other “literary snobs”, he had regarded the start of a book club by daytime television’s supernormal couple with mild derision and not-so-mild scepticism. The audience didn’t read and, if they did, they restricted themselves to Jeffrey Archer and ghosted packs of lies by barely human celebrities. O’Connor’s, however, was a real book, as were others on that list - William Dalrymple, Alice Sebold - and R&J were shifting them like Tesco burgers. In fact, they were shifting them on a scale unprecedented in the long and undistinguished history of book-promotion scams. They were changing the entire market.
Four years and many real books later, the R&J Book Club accounts for 26% of the sales of the top 100 books in the UK, and Amanda Ross, the club’s creator and book selector, is the most powerful player in British publishing. Now, though, the club faces a crisis. Richard & Judy are ending their early-evening run on Channel 4 and moving to a new UKTV channel. Can the club survive the shift from a terrestrial to a cable channel?

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