Retailers welcome James' Man Booker Prize triumph

Retailers welcome James' Man Booker Prize triumph

Oneworld is planning a large reprint and a special hardback edition of Marlon James’ Man Booker Prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings, as booksellers praise the title for its “eye-catching use of language” and “amazing cast of voices”. Juliet Mabey, publisher at Oneworld, said that 40,000 copies would be available to order by bookstores within the next 24 hours.

James was announced as the winner of the £50,000 award last night at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London. His book centres on the real-life attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1976, and fictionalises the build-up and aftermath of the shooting by seven gunman.

Oneworld has ordered an initial reprint of 107,500 copies. It also has plans for a limited edition hardback for Christmas, featuring a platinum record, instead of black vinyl on the cover. The publisher is looking at a 10,000 print run for the special edition.

A Brief History of Seven Killings marks Oneworld’s first Man Booker Prize win, and retailers have welcomed the book’s win, predicting a surge in sales.

Katharine Fry, trade buying manager at Blackwell’s, said: "We’re delighted to see this title beat the odds and take the prize. It’s one our booksellers have been championing since its hardback publication and has performed solidly. This will obviously bring it to a wider audience and we’ll see a huge uplift in sales which should make it one of the paperbacks of the year; we’d expect this to also filter through to his other work as well.”

Chloe Mavrommatis, manager of Dulwich Books, said: "I'm delighted, it's staggeringly good, big and bold, with the amazing cast of voices. I think it's going to present some of the same selling challenges ass The Luminaries [by Eleanor Catton], it's a bit daunting at first glance. But that's where booksellers come in, to tell people they mustn't be afraid, it's a challenge but one well worth conquering."

Jonathan Ruppin, web editor at Foyles, said: "It's a visceral and uncompromising novel that sheds a stark light on a profoundly disturbing chapter of Jamaica's history, but it's also an ingeniously structured feat of storytelling that draws the reader in with its eye-catching use of language. For booksellers, it's truly heartening to see such ambition and originality recognised and rewarded, and readers have already been embracing it with great enthusiasm.

"It's been a terrific year for the Man Booker Prize. The shortlist rivalled some of the finest in its history, full of books that demonstrate the novel's continuing evolution as an art form and its unique capacity for exploring and understanding our society at a complex level. How this year's winner will fare in bookshops remains to be seen, but the prize is about much more than that: it's a signpost to readers that there is no limit to the forms a novel can take and the ideas it can embrace."

A Brief History of Seven Killings has sold 12,237 copies through Nielsen BookScan across all editions for £103,077, a 82.8% increase on its volume before the shortlist announcement.