“Bringing books by sea is the only option for us. And we print more books locally than in the past, ”she says, adding that she and her team are used to a new pace.
“Not having air freight meant we had to pivot quickly and make some process changes. We had to see how often we replenished orders. But she said the flexibility of local printers had allowed smaller runs, which foreign publishers were now more willing to do.
The two big international titles that Allen & Unwin distribute are Sally Rooney’s Beautiful people, where are you and that of Kazuo Ishiguro Klara and the sun. Burnell says timing and scale are important for decisions about local printing. “We must be able to publish them simultaneously with our international partners.
Burnell said her preparation for the next few months started at the start of the year when she started talking to overseas publishers to make sure all the big books were available in the Australian market for Christmas. The critical period for the “stock on the water” was the end of August, to ensure the books arrive here by December, she said.
But when the Suez Canal was blocked for six days in March by a container ship, Burnell had great fears of major storage delays. They turned out to be unfounded. “It could have been a lot worse. This cleared up fairly quickly, but we were preparing for more significant delays. “
Michael Gordon-Smith, CEO of the Australian Publishers Association, doesn’t see much of a difference between this year and the last in terms of offering. Its members say things are obviously more difficult than before the pandemic, “but it is by no means a disaster. And it’s not a bad thing to encourage people all along the chain to buy local.
But he, too, has noticed a drop in sales in recent weeks. “There has been a bit of a contraction from last year, but I think people are convinced that the local Christmas list looks very strong.”
He deplores that Melbourne and Sydney are locked out. “When we can get out, people will be happy to do it. I think booksellers want to know what the rules are. Can people navigate? Can we put rules in place that say you can come in and navigate if you are vaccinated? As the number of people vaccinated increases, the ability to manage the differential risk between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated would be of great help. One of the biggest bottlenecks right now is confusion caused by governments rather than anyone else. “
The battle for the best-selling novel in Australia is likely to be between two women, Sally Rooney and Liane Moriarty, although it is questionable whether the two appeal to different readers.
Rooney’s highly anticipated third novel, Beautiful people, where are you, a relationship story of two young Irish couples, will be released on September 7. It will be followed a week later by the very popular Moriarty’s Apples never fall, a story about the secrets of a family of tennis players that emerge when the matriarch goes missing.
Maybe the hugely popular Elizabeth Strout will challenge them with her new novel, Ah Guillaume!, although Rooney and Moriarty are almost two months ahead of her, and it’s a novel starring Lucy Barton, not Olive Kitteridge.
Other big international novels looming include three very different family sagas. crossroads is the first part of Jonathan Franzen’s ambitious trilogy, A key to all mythologies; Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead continues the showdown Nickel boys with Harlem Shuffle, a family saga “masquerading as a detective story, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem”; while the Irish writer Colm Toibin The magician is based on the life of Thomas Mann and follows his creative and family life from his childhood in Lübeck through two world wars, exile in the United States and the Cold War, as well as the writing of works such as Death in Venice and win the Nobel Prize.
And the author of the bestseller All the light that we can’t see, Anthony Doerr, a Cuckoo Earth Cloud, a novel set in 15th-century Constantinople, present-day Idaho, and a spaceship in the near future.
If you like a literary biography, then you will be admirably taken care of by Bernadette Brennan, who follows her life as Helen Garner with a biography of the brilliant and tragic Australian novelist, Gillian Mears; by Frances Wilson Burning man, on DH Lawrence, and by Carole Angier, whose life by WG Sebald is published in November.
When it comes to Australian novels, there are plenty to come. Two-time Miles Franklin winner Michelle de Kretser is back with Scary monsters, a novel about the horror of racism and written in a reversible format to give a sort of physical representation of the migrant’s disorienting experience.
Hannah Kent’s third novel, Devotion, is another historical novel, this time about a German girl fleeing her home due to religious persecution, sailing to South Australia and finding love and more along the way.
Christos Tsiolkas, however, turns his back on the historic after Damascus with 7½ – his seventh novel, about a lonely writer writing, remembering and telling a story to the reader. “In a time of rage and confusion,” Tsiolkas said, “I wanted to write about beauty. “
The prolific Tom Keneally brings us two books: a novel, Corporal Hitler’s pistol, set in his hometown of Kempsey, where a pistol believed to have belonged to the future German dictator is used to kill an IRA renegade, while he has one hell of a rant in a book of the same name that’s personal, political and passionate.
Beloved American novelist Ann Patchett has a collection of essays, Those precious days, due a month before Christmas, which is both personal and expansive, and novelist Charlotte Wood investigates what she calls “the joys, fears and deep self-discoveries of creativity” in The luminous solution.
And don’t forget the new books by Heather Morris, Jodi Picoult, Clementine Ford, a posthumous novel by John le Carré, Chris Hammer, Richard Powers, John Safran, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Paul McCartney, Paula Hawkins, Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton, and many more, including a novel by – yes – actor Bryan Brown.
You just have to go browsing, either in store or online.
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