Retailers miss Booker big hitters

Retailers miss Booker big hitters

<p>Retailers have given a lukewarm reception to the Man Booker longlist, welcoming the inclusion of new writers but lamenting the lack of big name authors in the running for the 2007 prize.</p><p>The omission of the likes of Jonathan Coe, JM Coetzee and Graham Swift by the judging panel led to widespread UK and international media coverage today. Despite hopes by organisers that the slimmed-down longlist would create more opportunities for retail promotion, chains and supermarkets said they would wait until shortlist stage before rolling out Man Booker displays.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a really interesting list,&quot; said Andrew McClellan, acting trading controller of fiction at W H Smith. &quot;But it would have been easier to get across to customers if there were more big hitters. Other prizes are hard on the Booker&#39;s heels in terms of what customers follow.&quot; Waterstone&#39;s said it was a &quot;giant-felling&quot; list, with fiction buyer Janine Cook describing it as &quot;a very exciting list for new writing&quot;. She added: &quot;Keeping the longlist to a more manageable baker&#39;s dozen rather than the usual 18+ gives it more focus for both reader and retailer.&quot;<br /> </p><p>Mass market booksellers Tesco and Asda said they were considering stocking the six-strong shortlist with point of sale material for the first time. Asda books buyer Steph Bateson said: &quot;There&#39;s no recognisable names for our customer base, with the exception of Ian McEwan&mdash;we did good numbers of <em>On Chesil Beach</em> in hardback. But it does give an opportunity for new authors to come to the fore. We always stock the Booker winner and we&#39;re considering wherther to do the whole shortlist this time. It&#39;s an opportunity for those customers who may be intimated by going into a Waterstone&#39;s, or maybe haven&#39;t even heard of the Booker.&quot;</p><p>At Tesco, category manager David Cooke said: &quot;We&#39;ll support all the shortlist on Tesco.com, and we&#39;re looking at picking up all the titles for stores. We seem to be getting better at selling these slightly more obscure books. We&#39;ve never really supported the Booker so whatever we do will be a step forward.&quot;</p><p>The Man Booker Prize is this week meeting with publishers of longlisted titles to unveil marketing plans and advise them on how best to exploit inclusion in the longlist.&nbsp;</p>