W&N accused over history cut

<p>One of Britain&#39;s most distinguished publishers has been condemned for turning its back on serious history books in favour of &#39;crappy&#39; celebrity biographies and TV spin-offs, is the Observer&#39;s take on <em>The Bookseller&#39;s</em> news that <a href="../news/56097-weidenfeld-returns-author-advances.html" target="_blank" title="weidenfeld-returns-author-advances.html">Weidenfeld &amp; Nicolson had returned some author advances as a result of cutting its lists</a>.</p><p>The piece interviews Ian Drury, formerly publishing director of non-fiction. Drury, now a literary agent at Sheil Land Associates, says: &quot;I find it gutting that a premium brand, known for quality history, is throwing that list away while publishing Charlotte Church, Leslie Ash and other crappy celebrity books. It seems to be bizarre to turn your back on a genre which has been providing stonking bestsellers over time.&quot;</p><p>Drury added: &#39;For the last year or so I was there, there was a move towards celebrity biography and it became progressively more difficult to publish the sort of books I&#39;m interested in, such as serious history. &#39;That side of the business was cut back and there was a definite feeling it was corporate led, reflecting a lack of belief in serious non-fiction. However, a lot of authors I had difficulty in retaining as a publisher, I&#39;ve had no difficulty selling as an agent.&#39;<br /><br /></p>