Libby Potter: Tonight on the Money Programme, books have become big business, but who are the winners and the losers in the pursuit of best seller success?
Like the rest of the media, this once genteel world is going through a huge transformation, with constant advances in technology and an increasingly competitive market.
Male speaker: Books have been cheap; they’re fabulously discounted, they’ll be delivered to your house the next day, what’s not to like?
Libby Potter: I’ll be seeing if the celebrity books that now dominate best seller lists are essential for the rest of the business.
How much did you pay Paul O’Grady?
Larry Finlay: Seven figures, loads.
Libby Potter: Seven figures?
Larry Finlay: Yes.
Libby Potter: I’ll show how cutthroat price wars have changed the entire industry.
Female speaker: The booksellers now have a great power because there is a shortage of book space; the booksellers will almost dictate to the big publishers what we can sell. What we sold last year, we reckon we can sell it this year.
Libby Potter: How to get into print, and how not to.
Female speaker: I enclose a copy of my debut novel which cleverly mixes art, cooking, sex and violence in an appetising, easy to read package. Well there’s the blurb for the paperback.
Libby Potter: And look at the pressures on publishers to pay to get their books noticed.
Larry Finlay: And it can vary anything between, say, one and half thousand pounds up to, in total across all retailers, as much as hundred thousand pounds for a really big title.
Female speaker: Publishers tend to follow trends too much, so if there’s been a book that’s been successful then they’ll go out and they’ll look for the next book that’s exactly the same.
This programme was first broadcast on Thursday 12th Feb 2009 on BBC Two.
Janet Street-Porter: Tonight, in the first of three special programmes on the media, I’m investigating the revolution transforming newspapers.
Rupert Murdoch: The world is changing and it’s up to newspapers to adapt to that.
Janet Street-Porter: Our changing lifestyles and the economic slump are hitting the daily paper where it hurts.
Alan Rusbridger: The sums simply don’t add up. These are not economic businesses that we are running.
Janet Street-Porter: Circulations are falling and advertisers are taking their business elsewhere.
Male speaker: We are seeing a real downturn in things like property advertising, recruitment advertising.
Janet Street-Porter: Fleet Street is fighting back with free commuter papers. Would you pay any money for it?
Male speaker: No.
Male speaker: No.
Janet Street-Porter: No, alright. And new online services.
Male speaker: Newspapers need to deliver a very strong web and digital presence.
Janet Street-Porter: But there’s a big problem with the internet.
Sir Martin Sorrell: There’s probably only about one website in the UK developed by newspapers that is profitable.
Janet Street-Porter: In these tough times no paper is safe.
Male speaker: There’s going to be consolidation, adaptation and extinction. There will be blood on the streets.
Janet Street-Porter: Can newspapers survive the media revolution?
This programme was first broadcast on Thursday 5th Feb 2009 on BBC Two.