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This just in: awards sell books

The International Herald Tribune website has some sober thoughts on the importance of literary awards to the publishing business. While acknowledging that a walk to the podium can do wonders for an author’s bottom line and sense of self-esteem, Alan Riding’s piece examines how the real winners in the annual round of literary awards are the publishers of the shortlisted and winning books. Some of the reasons Riding cites are a steady decline in fiction sales, the ever-rising number of books published annually, and the cult of the award ceremony: “The idea of a noisy countdown to a splashy awards ceremony designed to celebrate an industry spread quickly through the movie world to embrace theater, art, dance, even television and pop music…. Publishing has long ridden this bandwagon.”

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Read the Interational Herald Tribune piece