Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Guest Blogger: Irene - Bookgroup Info

When we met Lauren and Tom of Legend Press at the launch of In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyika we were struck by their vitality, individualism – and youth! It was good putting faces to names, having only corresponded by email before that.

We were delighted when they subsequently invited us to sit on the panel of the Exclusively Independent project.

Each member of the panel is sent a selection of AIs and synopses from the publishers’ submitted books and then have to select 10 of those that we feel are suitable. The submissions have been really interesting and diverse and so far, remarkably, all the individuals on the panel have more or less come up with the same choices. There haven’t been any fisticuffs - yet!

Bookgroup Info www.bookgroup.info launched in 2002 with an Arts Council grant and has gone from strength to strength. From the hundreds of books we are sent or that are recommended to us, we choose those, which have really made an impression on us and review five on the site every month. We also interview authors as well as keeping up with events in the literary world. The site also has a unique searchable bookgroup directory. As well as the EI project we are on the judging panel of the Penguin Orange Broadband Readers' Group Prize and will be running a workshop at the Readers’ Voice Convention in Oxford on April 4th.

We believe that independence is one of our strengths so working with other independents on this project is appropriate and appealing to us. We believe passionately in supporting independent publishers and booksellers because they're generally run by enthusiasts like us who believe in the benefits of books and aren't just in it to make money. As long as we have independents, we can be sure of diversity and choice in the marketplace!

Irene Haynes, Bookgroup Info and Exclusively Independent panel member.

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