First edition “Les Fleurs du Mal” was sold for over US$5,000 despite glaring typos; indie publishers boycott Amazon; Paolo Coelho pirates his own books; Oklahoma romance writing competition welcomes vampire genre but says no to “same-sex” entries. And that’s a Week in Book News.

It’s February, and the world of books is only starting to rock.

Antiquarian and collectible books

A signed first edition of Jonathan Cape 1953 publication of Casino Royale was sold for USD$46,453. An 1857 first edition of Charles Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du Mal” was sold for USD$5,502 despite containing printing errors such as page 45 being numbered as page 44, as well as the glaring typo “Feurs” in the headline on pages 31 and 108.

Great Valentine’s Day presents, don’t you think?

The Casina Royale book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, Jonathan Cape or the cover artist and author, Ian Fleming. (Source: Wikipedia)

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales in January 2012 (, 12 Jan 2012)


Books technology

Amazon is not getting any love from publishers, despite being hailed as a light of hope for independent e-book authors.

Independent booksellers have launched a boycott against Amazon, with America’s biggest book chains Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, and Canadian chain Indigo, refusing to stock retail giant’s own books. American Booksellers Association’s e-commerce platform for independent stores, IndieCommerce, has begun the process of removing all Amazon titles from its database.

ABA Says “No” to Amazon Publishing (Publishers Weekly, 8 Feb 2012)

Amazon Publishing bookshop boycott grows (The Guardian, 9 Feb 2012)


Book art and design

The Millions magazine, an online journal of books, has compared the book covers designed in the US and the UK. Can you tell the difference? We can’t, yet we love them all.

Book covers of The Art of Fielding. Can you tell the difference between the UK and US design?

Judging Books by Their Covers: US vs UK (The Million, 8 Feb 2012)


Author in the spotlight

Best-selling author Paolo Coelho has called on fans to his books to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. Said Coelho: “Welcome to download my books for free and, if you enjoy them, buy a hard copy – the way we have to tell to the industry that greed leads to nowhere.”

(Editor’s note: Paolo, how can we ever pirate your great works. We’d rather pay).

Paulo Coelho calls on readers to pirate books (The Guardian, 1 Feb 2012)


Books and politics

An Oklahoma-based romantic writing competition has banned same-sex entries. The contest accepts romance entries about vampires and werewolves, stories set in the future and the past, erotica and urban fantasy – as long as they don’t feature romance between gay people.

Ban on same-sex stories in romance competition causes outcry (The Guardian, 8 Feb 2012)

Ex-England manager Fabio Capello takes up Waterstones’s manager post, if you can believe the imaginative Twitter folks at @WstonesOxfordSt

Fabio Capello, Waterstones Manager (Waterstone’s on, 9 Feb 2012)


Book events

MA Children’s Book Illustration: Cambridge School of Art Graduate show. From 8 – 15 Feb 2012 at Foyles, Charing Cross Road.

Imagine Children’s Festival at The Southbank Centre. From 10 – 26 Feb 2012. Sponsored by Book People.

Previous post: A Week in Book News (31/01/12)

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