Gardner and Pinfold win Carnegie and Greenaway Medals
Sally Gardner's childre...
IPG offers support as MPG rescue plan fails
The Independent Publishers ...
Rebuck interviewed for SB.TV
Random House c.e.o. Gail Re...
Quercus brings sales in-house
Quercus has brou...
Young takes rights role at MCB
Michele Young is to join Ma...
Booktrade must make most of NYR
11.01.08 | Benedicte Page
Publishers and retailers must meet tight deadlines if they are to ensure that the book trade capitalises on the National Year of Reading, launched this week by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
At the Downing Street event on Tuesday, Brown declared literacy "one of the best anti-poverty, deprivation and crime policies we can think of", and said the aim of the year was to "make thousands who can't read able to read, and get thousands of those who can read to read more". Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families, told The Bookseller that publishers and booksellers should get their authors involved, and make bookshops "fun places to go".
NYR project director Honor Wilson-Fletcher, who has been in place for just five weeks, said the initiative would focus on the power of words and ideas, kicking off in April with a drive for library membership. Along with themed months from April on topics such as sport, the summer will be focused on reading for enjoyment, while autumn will be centred on volunteering to help others learn to read. Live performances will be key, and plans also include newspaper supplements, events in the Royal parks, involvement at music festivals and collaboration with tourism agencies.
But while libraries have been given a central role in NYR plans from the outset, publishers and booksellers have been told to develop their own initiatives for the April launch. A trade advisory group, chaired by Scholastic m.d. Kate Wilson and including major booksellers and publishers, is now in place and working on joint initiatives, with individual plans also in the offing.
Wilson-Fletcher urged the trade to seize the opportunity: "It's not often that you have both the PM and a secretary of state saying publicly 'Buy the product your sector produces'. This puts publishers and booksellers in a fortunate position," she said.
Publishers and retailers welcomed the potential of the NYR, particularly through PR, but some expressed concerns that detailed plans are vague and that the focus is on reading anything, as opposed to specifically reading books. The plan for themed months was thought to be unappealing to booksellers, while publishers were worried about the shortage of time to set up plans before April.
Penguin marketing and publicity director Joanna Prior said: "With the NYR in 1998 we really benefited, because government money was available for books and schools were given pots of money which served Puffin very well. This time, it requires more imagination. It is what you make of it."