Posts Tagged ‘Bookselling’

This post is related to the London Book Fair 2014 (see my earlier post on my visit) when I attended a seminar called Beyond Nordic Noir: An Overview of the Nordic Literary Market, which was all about literature coming out of the Nordic countries and the fact that it isn’t just crime novels!

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

The Beyond Nordic Noir session

This was a fascinating and informative session because I didn’t know much about the structure of the book industry in the Nordic countries. The things they discussed included:

  • The Nordic market is trying to move away from the dark side of Nordic literature – the incoming trend seems to be comic books, the complete opposite! (according to a Finnish lit agency)
  • Writers need to be able to develop and grow.
  • Dedicated local readers are needed before a book is translated.
  • There’s a need for supportive government policies for books.
  • Small countries (like Iceland with its tiny population) need to decide on and maintain support for books.

Norway was discussed at length during the session and some intriguing facts came out about the Norwegian book industry:

  • Publishers can keep publishing translated fiction because they have less risk due to government funding for it.
  • Only 5% of 700 titles translated to other countries are actually crime!
  • No VAT on books in Norway keeps prices down.
  • Publishers can have a fixed price on books so booksellers can’t choose the price.
  • Physical bookshops are doing well due to the lack of price competition, so they work better than UK bookshops.
  • Publishers have more profit to subsidize translations.
  • Everyone in the population of Norway reads at least 1 book per year.
  • 40% of the population reads more than 10 books per year.
  • 5000 new titles are published each year – 60-65% are by Norwegians.
  • There’s 600 bookshops in Norway!
  • There’s 10 internet bookstores, but no big one.

There are worries about the industry in the future though:

  1. Who will be the publishers?
  2. Globalisation – every 4th book is in English.
  3. Centralisation – fewer players who are bigger (Amazon hasn’t launched in Norway…yet).

Then there was some discussion of certain authors and books which have come out of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, and each country’s literary councils which help promote their books.

There are plenty of Nordic support schemes, with translation grants, sample translation grants, travel grants for writers, authors, publishers, etc, production grants, and promotion grants.

In addition, the Nordic countries tend to join together to do joint promotions because they are successful, but it must be stressed that just because they are grouped together they are NOT all the same!

I was impressed by the fact that the book industry in Scandinavia seems so much healthier than the UK with their price fixing (which we ditched), the lack of VAT on books, and the amount of funding available for translated fiction in the Nordic countries.

There was a section by the speaker Boyd Tonkin who named his favourite 5 Nordic authors: Linn Ullman (Norway), Sofi Oksanen (Finland), Carsten Jensen (Denmark), and Sjon (Iceland, but I’m afraid I have forgotten who he picked from Sweden! Oops!

I would love to read more Scandinavian books, so far I have only read a few Nordic crime novels and one Finnish novel, and that’s pretty pathetic! Crime isn’t even one of my usual genres! I’m definitely going to look into some new Nordic books!



As part of my publishing Masters course, we are putting together a book about parenthood and how to survive it! If you are a writer and a parent, or even if you just have a story to share, please get in contact and submit your stories! (UK and US entries only) The all important linkUCLan Blessing and Bother Call out See the call out for more information below:


Parents, We want you!

Did your waters break in an unusual or embarrassing place? Did you fall out choosing your baby’s name? Did you find your own ways to cope with baby-blues or sleep deprivation? Then why not share your experience with other parents, in a new book of parenthood stories called Blessing and Bother: How to Have Children and Live to Tell the Tale.

Published in summer 2011 by UCLan Press, Blessing and Bother is all about parents sharing their stories of first-time parenthood, and how to survive it.

From conception to potty-training, we want to hear your unusual, amusing or heart-warming accounts of how you overcame the trials and tribulations of parenthood.

So, if you’re a mum or dad with a quirky story to share, or a midwife with an entertaining anecdote, then please get in touch. The book will be edited, published and promoted by Publishing MA students at UCLan University, who will be on hand to work with you on your story and perfect it prior to publication.

Interested? Great! Please take a look at our guidelines before you send your story.


We’re looking for entertaining stories about your own experiences of parenthood (about anything from conception through to potty training), of between 1000-3000 words. While we want your true account, please bear in mind that we want this book to be as entertaining as possible, with stories that are well-crafted and engaging. So here are some tips on writing compelling stories:

  • Don’t give away what happens right at the start – establish what the problem is, and keep the reader in suspense about how it will be resolved.
  • Try to put yourself in the shoes of a reader and anticipate what they would find interesting.
  • Try to pace it so that each paragraph moves the story on.
  • Try to tell it in your own words, avoiding cliches of expression.
  • Small, unusual descriptive details and similes are usually more effective than long passages set aside for description.
  • Don’t feel you have to end your story with a flourish, or a joke. Let the events speak for themselves.

Please email your stories as an MS Word doc attachment to Debbie Williams (, and include your name contact details within the document. Closing date for submissions is 28th February 2011.


  • ‘Blessing and Bother: How to Have Children and Live to Tell the Tale’ will be published in eBook format in 2011.
  • Stories should be between 1000 – 3000 words.
  • Stories must be the author’s own original work.
  • We are unable to use work which contains copyright material (e.g. quotations from other published work, songs, etc), or any material which, in the sole opinion of the editors, is deemed of a libelous, defamatory or otherwise actionable nature.
  • The editors may request reasonable editorial revisions prior to publication, where deemed appropriate, and will be available to help make any such revisions.
  • Copyright of all submissions will remain with the contributors, however the publishers request exclusivity for one year following publication.
  • UCLan press is unable to offer any payment for contributions. ‘Blessing and Bother: How to Have Children and Live to Tell the Tale’ is a non-profit publication; any proceeds raised by the sale of the book will go towards future publications by UCLan MA students.

Image via Wikipedia

Happy New Year to my readers and fellow bloggers!

During my usual daily visit to The Bookseller website, i discovered that Waterstones is suffering and is forced to close 20 of its stores over the year, further diminishing the amount of bookstores on our highstreets. See Waterstone’s confirms 20 store closures – on The for more details.

At university in our last session before Christmas, we were asked to predict what would happen in 2011 in the publishing and book industry. My prediction was that Waterstones would end up on the brink of extinction, something i really hope will not happen, but seems more likely now there’s this incident of closing more stores due to needing to save costs.

Waterstone’s sister chain HMV is also struggling and closing stores, which is sad because a HMV has just opened up in my local town and this news makes me wonder if it will remain open.

Sales of books from shops have fallen over the Christmas period due to the bad snowy weather forcing shops to close due to the lack of customers able to reach them. Digital sales seem to have picked up however due to the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle.

Book sales have taken a beating, as 2010’s bad weather at the start and end of the year caused a slump in book sales. In a article, it states:

As well as the weather playing a significant part in 2010’s poor sales, other factors leading to the decline include the loss of Borders in late 2009, as well the uncertain economic climate. A weak pound, strikes and the Icelandic ash cloud meanwhile, affected sales of travel maps and guides last year, while the increasing popularity of e-books may also have had a small, negative impact on printed book sales in 2010.”

The best-selling book of 2010, particularly in the run up to Christmas, was Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 30-minute Meals (Michael Joseph) with sales of 1,167,457 copies! Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Quercus) was also a bestseller in 2010. The bestselling children’s book was Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn with her sales totalling £16.8m in 2010, possibly helped by the release of the latest film instalment in the Twilight franchise.

See Book Sales in 2010 fall by 3% on the

I hope 2011 is a better year for the book industry, otherwise there are going to be some big changes and some unfortunate events. I for one would be sad if Waterstones disappears from our highstreet.