Hardback or paperback? Which to buy?
Also in today's blog
Xcite Books advertisement in PN
Two pages in this week's issue of Publishing News caught my attention.
One was written by journalist Katharine Whitehorn – a columnist for the Observer for 37 years – about her autobiography, Selective Memory, to be published by Virago in September at £18.99
[When will publishers drop these silly .99 prices? Do they really think buyers are gulled into thinking the book is a pound cheaper?]
Ms Whitehorn was married to thriller writer the late Gavin Lyall for 45 years. She is Agony Aunt for Saga magazine.
Shall I buy the hardback or wait for the paperback? Having shelled out £19 all but a penny for Wild Mary last year and been disappointed, with the Whitehorn memoir I'm inclined to wait for the pb, or borrow my public library's copy.
Xcite Books advertisement in PN
The second page in Publishing News was a full-page advertisement headed "Xcite Books offer female readers quality erotic fiction that's seriously sexy!"
Below the heading were 12 book jackets, including books titled "whip ME", "spank ME" and "tie ME UP".
I suppose Publishing News can't afford to turn away advertising, but I wouldn't mind betting that not all the PN staffers and freelancers are comfortable with an ad for what many people, including me, will regard as porn.
The publisher of Xcite books is Accent Press and distribution is by Macmillan (MDL). I wonder if Richard Charkin [see link in right hand sidebar] knows and approves?
At the Accent Press site I read – "Accent Press Ltd is a dynamic publishing company. Founded by Hazel Cushion [see photo] in 2003, the company has already celebrated some major achievements. In February 2007 she was invited to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace at a reception for 200 Women in Business. Hazel Cushion won the Pandora, Women in Publishing Award and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. She has recently been selected by The Daily Telegraph as "an inspiring woman"."
I wonder if Ms Cushion would have been invited to the Palace if the ad for Xcite Books had already appeared? It is not in the current issue of The Bookseller.
None of the 12 Xcite titles has the author's name on the cover. Instead we read "Edited by Cathryn Cooper" about whom, at the Lovereading site, we learn that as the "author of over 10 erotic titles she is the perfect person to select the very best stories for the Xcite anthologies."
And "It was being skint that turned Cathryn Cooper to sex. No job, lost house and business, then an opportunity came her way to write for Virgin’s Black Lace series. Having four novels for them under her belt as Georgina Brown, she appeared on their behalf on such programmes as Friday Night Live (HTV Wales) and Middle Ages, (HTV West).
Besides writing occasional features for a Bristol based newspaper, she also writes romantic sagas (under an entirely different name – she does not wish to give the library lenders a heart attack)."
Anyone who has read my Longwarden novels will know that I'm not a prude. But I don't believe that women being tied up and whipped is part of normal, loving sex, or that describing porn as erotica makes it acceptable.
As one of PN's subscribers, I'm put off by the Xcite Books advertisement and hope the magazine's management will think twice before accepting another ad of this type. Surely the publishers are deluding themselves if they believe there's a large female market for these books? My guess is that the majority of buyers will be the same people who buy the top shelf magazines in newsagents' shops.