Sunday, December 10, 2006

No R & J @ C & P

So there I was last night watching spanish football when I realise that it's only bloody Richard and Judy's bloody christmas books programme on bloody channel 4. Missed it! Call yourself a bookseller! A bloody professional! Arse!

So I raced to their website to see what I'd missed...

Best cookbook - Jamie Oliver. Won't stock it. It's 12.99 at Sainsbury's.
Best Coffee Table book - Life by Lennart Nilsson. The rep showed it to me and I didn't really like it. Oops. Still not a patch on my pick this year After the Flood from Robert Polidori.
Best Kids book - Calm Down Boris! by Sam Lloyd. Erm, haven't seen it. (But it's from Macmillan distribution - let's not go there - represented by the nice people at Bounce though so might get it. If it wasn't REPRINT PENDING: NO DATE!)
Best Stocking Filler - Flanimals of the Deep by Ricky Gervais. I've never liked the Flanimals books and I'm not about to start now.
Best celebrity book - they couldn't decide because all the celebs were in the studio and they didn't want to upset anyone. However I can announce that we have exactly no copies in stock of the shortlist anyway. Mmm.

So, there you go. If you were to draw a venn diagram of our relationship to Richard and Judy it would look something like this:

So either we're serially incompetent and doomed or, we take the time and trouble to find more beautiful and varied books than you'll find on the tv and in the high street. Judging by the sales figures last week I'd say the latter is edging out the former by a brave few furlongs.


  1. Now there's a coincidence...

  2. Better make that three in a bed - in the nicest sense of the phrase!!

    There are some fantastic books out there for those adventurous enough to move away from the mainstream : books which will have long-term sales value.

    Boring bloody R&J fodder destined to be seen in many charity shops early in the new year.

  3. By way of PS just checked delivery time on Amazon for Calm Down Boris - they suggest 5-7 days : check with Bertram on-line and they state reprint scheduled 16th January 2007 !!!

  4. I have admired the R and J brave choice of books through the year.. they declined to state the obvious, found some excellent fiction, supported unusual non-f.. but when it came to Christmas they collapsed in a weak heap. I do not just say this because they were sent HEROINES and declined it. The choice was feeble and obvious and I honestly doubt if it will make the usual mega-difference to sales that Rupert Everett was expecting - they had a real chance here and they fluffed it. But there is no excuse at all for any of their chosen list to be TOP as publishers were notified by mid-October that they had been chosen.
    Try harder next year. I don`t think you should dismiss them though.... they may well make up for this lapse during 2007. Hope so.

  5. Im sure the C&P selection is far better than R&J. When you become my local indy booksupplier in the new year I'll be sure to say hello!

  6. Susan

    If an indie bookshop was so shallow and unadventurous and relied upon sales from R&J "recommendations" (most of which are heavily discounted in the merchandisers) then their next appointment would likely be in one place - Carey Street.

    IMVHO 2006 was a vintage year for many sectors of British publishing : although one wouldn't realise that fact from watching R&J.

  7. In my time I have read some of the R&J listed books - but not because they were on their lists.

    Personally, I rather like that your lists are not necessarily dependent or related to theirs. I want you to offer something different.

  8. And it's not like we don't stock any of their books. We just have the good ones. Didn't 'Cloud Atlas' win a few years back?

  9. Yes, CLOUD ATLAS did win and Clive is wrong.. did he really really not stock ARTHUR AND GEORGE or CLOUD ATLAS or PERDITA or GEN SQUASH TOKOLOSH or the Andrew Taylor detective story whose name escapes me or the marvellous memoir of life on a Cotswold farm in the 1940s or .. oh come on, they have been very unobvious and very eclectic in their selections and a lot of people have read books they might never have ventured upon without them.. sneering at them because they are television and have power is foolish and if Clive Keeble has truthfully stocked none of their titles then shoot -self-foot are the words that spring to mind. But their Christmas selection was pathetic - they didn`t try. Which let them down,

  10. Further to R and J at Christmas... I have been looking at amazon since the programme.. Nothing has moved. This time they haven`t waved the magic wand and that is because they chose the very very obvious - which was in the list somewhere anyway.

  11. To answer Susan Hill, yes I have stocked a few copies of a very few titles which were "endorsed" on R&J these past two years, but I would have sold more copies of, for example, Linda Grant's "The People on the Street" than I have from the entire 2004-6 R&J "inventory".

    R&J titiles are for the most part shelf fillers for the discounters rather than titles which most indie bookshops would be prepared to stock for the long-term.

  12. Shock horror! I was in front of the TV and did some channel hopping and found they were on! Staggering that they had a Saturday night slot, but good for books in general within the scope of the wider world, I think. Alas, I was quickly bored and channel hopped again, going back occasionally to see what I was missing... I sat through most of the sofa interviews with Ramsay and Everett, but I remained untempted.

    But here's the crux - all of the promoted books this Christmas seem to follow a theme I hate - that of celebrity. None of this attracts me and neither would I inflict it in gift format on loved ones, (I hope, they like me are disappointed with the Christmas plugs and seek something more).

    You're not incompetent, just different and catering to different needs in the market. So much so, I've just sent you an enquiry form as I suspect you may be able to meet mine.

    For how I found my way here, you can thank Susan Hill. I don't think I'd have known of your existence had it not been for her site and blog.

    I wish you a good Christmas and all the best for 2007! (In revenue and all other.)

  13. Hello Crime Fic reader - no form has appeared yet - try e-mailing