There’s nothing like a good literary prize win to boost publishers’ bottom lines.
Last year it was Bob Dylan seeing his book and music sales soar after he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature.
This year Kazuo Ishiguro has the honour, and the boost in sale to go with it. And not just in the UK (where Ishiguro has lived most of his life) and US.
“The phones at the city office of Penguin Random House (India) didn’t stop ringing (after) the news broke out that Kazuo Ishiguro has won Nobel for literature … By Friday morning, all 800 books of Ishiguro’s 9 titles in print were sold out. Some readers had placed advance orders at city stores while others had turned to online stores to grab special discounts.”
Penguin Random House is the distributor for Ishiguro’s books in India, by arrangement with Faber & Faber and Knopf, his publishers in the UK and Canada.
The Times of India adds, “Unfortunately, after the Nobel was announced on Thursday, readers noticed that the best loved title, Remains of The Day, has been out of stock for some time now,” but quoted a PRH spokesman as saying “The maximum orders have been placed for this title.”
PRH elaborated, “We are getting calls from Starmark, Story and other standalone stores. They were expecting to stock up before the weekend when enquiries will surge. We were obviously not prepared for this and will try to replenish as soon as stocks arrive from Delhi.”
In the Amazon India Kindle store today Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day is just outside the top twenty, but not able to dislodge the true stars of the India Kindle charts – one-time self-published author Amish Tripathi and American self-help guru Dale Carnegie, who pretty much have permanent slot in the Kindle India top twenty (although it’s Dan Brown’s Origin hogging the #1 spot here as everywhere).
In Japan, Ishiguro’s publisher reported “a huge number of orders” and is republishing eight of the author’s books.
A similar tale will no doubt be unfolding around the world – a reminder that global literary prizes, along with celebrity authors, superstar bestselling authors, etc, combined with unprecedented international reach thanks to digital, means there’s plenty of life left in publishing both at home and abroad.