Retailers have unveiled special editions of Hilary Mantel's The Mirror & the Light in a bid to maximise pre-orders for the long-awaited final novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy.
Fourth Estate confirmed The Mirror & the Light will be published on 5th March 2020, retailing at £25, on Wednesday 22nd May. Within minutes of the announcement Waterstones revealed plans to sell the final title as a signed clothbound hardback version retailing at £50 as well as a signed version at £25 with m.d. James Daunt saying the retailer is planning for “the literary event of our bookselling careers”.
Harper Collins has prepared a "range of bespoke offers for different retailers" with pre-order material going out to indies on announcement. Indie bookshops will also be sent extra terms to support their own activity, signed first editions and the pre-order incentive of an indie exclusive commemorative tote bag.
“Pity the novelist who publishes in 2020 with an eye on the Booker; the dream is crushed 10 months out,” said Daunt. “For the rest of us, no announcement could be more welcome. We plan now for the literary event of our bookselling careers. Perhaps the youngest amongst us may see the like again. If so, they are blessed.”
Waterstones buying director Kate Skipper said plans to support the book have been in the making for years. “We are extremely excited that the final chapter in Hilary Mantel’s utterly brilliant Cromwell trilogy has finally been announced. We have been planning how we can support this book for some years, albeit clearly not as long as Hilary Mantel or indeed HarperCollins! We are thrilled that our idea for an exclusive cloth edition has come to pass, and are working hard to make this the book our customers are most excited about for 2020.”
The publication date reveal comes 24 hours after a teaser campaign was launched with a billboard in London's Leicester Square. The novel has been branded a "great literary landmark" by Mantel's agent Bill Hamilton of A M Heath and a "triumphant conclusion" to the trilogy, which started in 2009.
"With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies," said HarperCollins. "She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage."
The bespoke indie offering comes days after the Booksellers Association confirmed talks are underway with publishers for indies to maximise sales on pre-orders, with BA m.d. Meryl Halls describing the market as a huge opportunity for them despite the long dominance of Amazon and bookselling chains.