Two days after the Man Booker Longlist was announced, six of the books have yet to be released. That’s almost half the list of 13 titles! The Bookseller reports publishers are either “considering” or scrambling to push up the release dates for Alison McLeod’s Unexploded, Eve Harris’ The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, Charlotte Mendelson’s Almost English, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland.
Though publishers could not have known which books would make the cut, the books that were in contention should have been released or at least a small print run should have been ready to go upon announcement. Now, as British bookseller Henry Layte pointed out, “Customers who want to get hold of those books will probably end up pre-ordering them on Amazon.”
The industry really needs to do a better job at synergy and anticipating business opportunities. Though the direct correlation between prizes and sales numbers is questionable, the boost in publicity and name recognition the longlisted titles get presents an easier sell in bookstores at a time when they need it most.