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Waterstones reveals new Book Club picks

Waterstones has announced its latest Book Club picks, set to launch on 28th March, calling the list "our most eclectic and exciting selection to date".

Books from Michael Frayn, John Banville and Nell Freudenberger all feature in the promotion, with one title highlighted each week in stores across the country.

Extra material on the titles, often designed to help reading groups, will be included either in the books themselves or on the Waterstones website. Waterstones PR manager Jon Howells said: "Some titles, such as The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and In The Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes, have essays written by the author how they researched the book and found their inspiration for it. Every time we do the Book Club picks, we are getting more and more from the publishers to add extra value."

Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, said: "We are incredibly proud of the success of Waterstones Book Club so far. We¹re very pleased to have helped showcase authors such as Gillian Flynn, Nick Harkaway and Susan Cain to our customers, who have proved very receptive to the intelligent, thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction that works so well for the Book Club.

"This is our most eclectic and exciting selection to date—we think our customers will love these books."

The full list of titles:

Skios by Michael Frayn (Faber)
The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger (Penguin)
Dear Lupin by Roger and Charlie Mortimer (Constable & Robinson)
Ancient Light by John Banville (Penguin)
The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain (Gallic Books)
Walking Home by Simon Armitage (Faber)
May We Be Forgiven by A M Homes (Granta)
The House of Rumour by Jake Arnott (Hodder & Stoughton)
In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes (Cornerstone)
Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway (Granta)
Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike by William Fotheringham (Vintage)
Burying the Typewriter by Carmen Bugan (Pan Macmillan)
Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion)
Heft by Liz Moore (Cornerstone)
 

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"Every time we do the Book Club picks, we are getting more and more from the publishers to add extra value." This "more and more" wouldn't be the discount demanded by Waterstones for inclusion in the "eclectic and exciting selection", by any chance, would it?

Hi John,

That's right, John, it wouldn't. The books get chosen on merit - the buying team read scores of titles in order to get to the final selection. We ask for extra content where appropriate. There’s no marketing charge to be in the Book Club (those charges are long gone at Waterstones), nor are there any special terms negotiations. Publishers are very supportive of the club and selection process and understandably pleased when their books are chosen – being in Book Club sells books, really good books from great writers new and established, from publishers large and small.

Many thanks for your input - it's good to get people talking about Book Club, although hopefully in a more celebratory fashion. I may as well use this opportunity to say why not pick up May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes, one of the new selection, which is my personal favourite and a great antidote for anyone suffering from excess cynicism.

All best

Jon

Great choices - Skios is brilliant.

As one of the authors on that list, I can confirm that Orion didn't simply buy their way into it. Indeed, the feedback I received was simply that the Waterstones bookclub team happened to read my book and loved it - the best possible way into a promotion.

I'm flattered to rub shoulders with such wonderful writers, not least because my book (Talking to the Dead) is a genre crime novel and it took some real boldness by the selectors to include it on a book-club type list. Readers will decide for themselves whether my book is any good or not, but it seems to me that Waterstones are indeed being bold, eclectic and challenging. They're behaving like proper readers, in fact.

And my respect for - let's remember - the country's leading bookseller doesn't end there. Yesterday, I spent the day touring bookshops (including Waterstones) in South Wales and saw at first hand the intelligence, enthusiasm and commitment of W'stones booksellers. As authors, we depend completely on these people. So let's have a bit less cynicism, perhaps, particularly when it has absolutely no foundation in fact.

The cynicism was certainly deserved during the wilderness years under HMV, but this looks like a chain that is getting back to its roots and remembering what made it so successful in the first place. If the 'extra value' did mean additional discount, would that be such a bad thing?

The publishing industry needs Waterstones as a showcase for its range and should do everything it can to support the chain.

Jon, well answered on behalf of Waterstones ( and no, I am not an employee). I think you got the tone just right there, I for one am a advocate of book club lists, as I am of the Waterstones 11, the Richard and Judy club and ( most of ) the Oprah lists. Why? because they help sell books, which is why we are all here, after all.
Thomas

Glad to hear that Waterstones is on the up. But how many of you out there know that a lot if the Little W cafe staff are being laid off at the beginning of May? And how many know that booksellers are being asked to chip in to cover the shortages? What happened to the knowledgable booksellers Mr Daunt promised? Perhaps they will be knowledgable baristas instead :)

"Every time we do the Book Club picks, we are getting more and more from the publishers to add extra value." This "more and more" wouldn't be the discount demanded by Waterstones for inclusion in the "eclectic and exciting selection", by any chance, would it?

Hi John,

That's right, John, it wouldn't. The books get chosen on merit - the buying team read scores of titles in order to get to the final selection. We ask for extra content where appropriate. There’s no marketing charge to be in the Book Club (those charges are long gone at Waterstones), nor are there any special terms negotiations. Publishers are very supportive of the club and selection process and understandably pleased when their books are chosen – being in Book Club sells books, really good books from great writers new and established, from publishers large and small.

Many thanks for your input - it's good to get people talking about Book Club, although hopefully in a more celebratory fashion. I may as well use this opportunity to say why not pick up May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes, one of the new selection, which is my personal favourite and a great antidote for anyone suffering from excess cynicism.

All best

Jon

Great choices - Skios is brilliant.

As one of the authors on that list, I can confirm that Orion didn't simply buy their way into it. Indeed, the feedback I received was simply that the Waterstones bookclub team happened to read my book and loved it - the best possible way into a promotion.

I'm flattered to rub shoulders with such wonderful writers, not least because my book (Talking to the Dead) is a genre crime novel and it took some real boldness by the selectors to include it on a book-club type list. Readers will decide for themselves whether my book is any good or not, but it seems to me that Waterstones are indeed being bold, eclectic and challenging. They're behaving like proper readers, in fact.

And my respect for - let's remember - the country's leading bookseller doesn't end there. Yesterday, I spent the day touring bookshops (including Waterstones) in South Wales and saw at first hand the intelligence, enthusiasm and commitment of W'stones booksellers. As authors, we depend completely on these people. So let's have a bit less cynicism, perhaps, particularly when it has absolutely no foundation in fact.

The cynicism was certainly deserved during the wilderness years under HMV, but this looks like a chain that is getting back to its roots and remembering what made it so successful in the first place. If the 'extra value' did mean additional discount, would that be such a bad thing?

The publishing industry needs Waterstones as a showcase for its range and should do everything it can to support the chain.

Jon, well answered on behalf of Waterstones ( and no, I am not an employee). I think you got the tone just right there, I for one am a advocate of book club lists, as I am of the Waterstones 11, the Richard and Judy club and ( most of ) the Oprah lists. Why? because they help sell books, which is why we are all here, after all.
Thomas

Glad to hear that Waterstones is on the up. But how many of you out there know that a lot if the Little W cafe staff are being laid off at the beginning of May? And how many know that booksellers are being asked to chip in to cover the shortages? What happened to the knowledgable booksellers Mr Daunt promised? Perhaps they will be knowledgable baristas instead :)