Oneworld publisher Juliet Mabey has ordered a 120,000 reprint of Paul Beatty's The Sellout for the UK market following its Man Booker win last night (25th October). The book, brought into paperback in May, will also get an additional 40,000 copies for the Australia market and 10,000 for India.
Nielsen BookScan sales thus far have been a modest 10,153 in paperback, and just 12,767 across all editions. The book was published in hardback last year.
An exultant Mabey told The Bookseller: "It's the first time an independent has won two years in a row since 1988 [Faber won in 1988 with Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey and in 1989 with The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro]. I'm just so pleased for Paul because I've always felt – and I felt this last year with Marlon [James] - I felt that this book and this author should win but you never know if they will…
"I just think it's so great that a book that's got such a strong message is now going to have the uplift to take that to a wider world. It'll get more readers, people will talk about it more and it's got something to say when Trump is in America, and Brexit is happening here. You couldn't have a better message."
On the topic of Beatty being the first US author to win the Man Booker, Mabey said: "I was thinking if they pick the first American, what kind of book could withstand what might be criticism [about a US author winning], I actually think this book can hold its head up against that." Mabey said she first learned about the book from the Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate, and then acquired UK and commonwealth rights from the agent Sarah Chalfont. Holgate wrote a piece earlier this year criticising the inclusion of American writers.
Alex Christofi, senior commissioning editor at Oneworld, said: “It was absolutely amazing, to see how much it meant to Paul and it means a huge amount to us as well to have won it for the second year running. It’s really unbelievable… [The win] is a vindication of Juliet’s taste because we only started the fiction list five or six years ago but in that time she’s been nominated for the Booker Prize three times and she’s won it twice. So, to me, it’s just a sign that we need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Meanwhile Chris White, fiction buyer at Waterstones, commented: "I couldn't be happier. The Booker judges have awarded the most significant of literary prizes to what feels like the most significant novel to have emerged in these strange and difficult times. I'm delighted for Paul Beatty who gave such a stirring and emotional acceptance speech. I'm delighted for Oneworld: a small, independent publisher which only started publishing fiction a few years ago. To have won two Booker prizes on the trot speaks to a brave and remarkable editorial eye. Most of all, though, I am delighted for the thousands of new readers who are about to experience this extraordinary book for the first time."