Originally posted by Simon
I have to say I agree entirely.
If what we were missing here with the last bunch of books was publicity, then the heralding of a new annual guest and famed author would create 50% of the interest. I'm not sure about the privately published/internet idea - it sounds too intra niche (is that right Jim?) and geeky, but a Martin Amis type author would recognise the selling points of Bond and interweave them into something truly creative.
But as someone else said, the trust fund babies (nice) would have to work for their dinner annually.
Intra-niche is the word.
We lucky few "in publishing" - what data we get. August 2002, "The Man with the Red Tattoo" on sale for about - what - three months (in the UK?). 31 days in August, eleven copies sold. Eleven. In a month. In the big holiday month in the UK. Eleven. By way of comparison, it was on a par with two books about the history of the tramways in Oldham and fifteen copies below a book about badgers that was only sold in three bookshops.
The Hound of the Baskervilles sold three hundred and twelve copies. Admittedly in paperback, but then Never Dream of Dying sold twenty-seven and that was in paperback too. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one hundred years old. Goldfinger sold two hundred and nine and that was before the UK re-release. That Star Wars book "Heir to the Empire" - about as intra-niche as one could get - sold three hundred and one copies but one has to factor in the renewed interest in Star Wars due to the film that was out at the time. Usually the Star Wars books have a consistent but quite low figure - albeit higher than twenty-seven per month
Don't yet have the November 2002 figures - one wonders if Die Another Day had a marked effect on the Benson sales. Personally, I doubt it - because otherwise would this week's even have actually happened?
Lack of effort by all interested parties, frankly.
Back on the point...
The novelty of the updates novels - Bond in the modern world - just wore off. The James Bond name, no matter how high it was printed on the dustjackets, didn't go anywhere. Its value is now practically nil.
The IFP action is a retrenchment rather than a retreat - draw back into the core, into what people do know and effectively start again. Don't hold your breath for any Gardner or Benson reprints - it's just not economic nor sound business sense to do that at the moment
An off the cuff (as opposed to off the wrist, fnarr) prediction: they will engage someone new. Martin Amis would be very, very expensive on even a per book basis but I can see an anthology of short stories by "noted" authors - which will be the result of a marketing push of the Fleming novels, not the Gardner or Benson novels. Reminding folks of Fleming - going back to the basics - may jigger up public interest, and then what - "Amis does Bond" or "PD James does Bond" or something like that. If we can't sell it on the character name, we sell it on the author.
But that probably ois the last gasp. If that sort of thing doesn't work, then literary Bond probably is over. But by cutting away the chaff of the update novels, it's a strategy - albeit a little cold-hearted - which could well work. And if it does work - in ten or even five years' time, the twenty years or so of Gardner/Benson novels, if not forgotten, will probably have been airbrushed out of history.
I can understand their reasons. Their reasons are little bits of paper with the Queen's head on it. It's nothing personal. It's strictly business.