Word is out on Richard and Judy's reading list
RICHARD and Judy, the "saviours of British publishing", are set to trigger another book- sales boom today with the announcement of their summer reading list.
The couple, whose television- show recommendation can transform the career of a struggling writer and send a previously ignored novel to the top of the best-sellers list, named the six books that could become this year's essential holiday reading.
The authors chosen, including Victoria Hislop, the wife of Have I Got News For You star Ian, and the journalist Jonathan Freedland, will now eagerly await the fabled "Richard and Judy effect".
The phenomenon has already seen Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones sell more than a million copies, Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea increase sales by 350 per cent and Kate Mosse's Labyrinth become one of the fastest-selling paperbacks of all time.
Amanda Ross produces the Channel 4 show's hugely influential Book Club segment. During the Summer Read, a celebrity - beginning with Abi Titmuss on 5 July - will review one of the books, all by new or breakthrough writers.
David Robinson, The Scotsman books editor, said: "Richard and Judy might seem unlikely saviours of the British publishing industry but to an extent that is just what they are.
"These choices influence what hundreds of thousands of people are taking on holiday to the beach this summer. One of the reasons the show is so influential is that they make discussion about books accessible.
"They talk about a book in the same way that people might talk about a book on a train, asking 'What are you reading?' and 'What is it about?'
"It is quite innocent and accessible and not off-putting or over-analytical. They generally communicate an enjoyment of literature very effectively, in a way that nobody else in the British media has been able to match.
"Every publisher in the country will have been trying to get the ear of Amanda Ross, and probably inundated the show's production company offices with their books.
"These six have hit the jackpot. They have guaranteed sales now, and there are very few novels that have that."
Often hailed as the most influential woman in British publishing, Ross is routinely given the highest honour in the industry - the final say on a paperback's front cover.
Colin Campbell, assistant manager of Waterstone's on Princes Street, said he expected an explosive impact on sales.
He added: "The Historian is massive anyway, but all six will just shoot up the list. The very day after they have been on television they will rocket."
Richard Madeley said: "This year's selection of titles are six of the best - I'm sure viewers will find them hard to put down."
The Highest Tide, by Jim Lynch
Thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley discovers a giant squid near his seaside home in Oregon and, as the first person ever to see one alive, becomes an overnight media sensation.
The Righteous Men, by Sam Bourne
Writing under a pseudonym, Jonathan Freedland has produced a gripping thriller about a journalist investigating a series of seemingly random murders.
The Island, by Victoria Hislop
A love story set on a Greek island during the Second World War. However, rather than being a sort of Captain Corelli's Corfu, its action takes place on the leper colony of Spinalonga.
My Best Friend's Girl, by Dorothy Koomson
Kamryn is devastated when her best friend Adele sleeps with her fianc and has a child by him - but is then faced with the prospect of raising the child when Adele reveals she is dying.
The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
After discovering an ancient and disturbing book on Vlad the Impaler in her father's study, a teenage girl sets out to Romania to discover the truth behind the Dracula story.
The Abortionist's Daughter, by Elisabeth Hyde
When an outspoken pregnancy termination specialist is murdered and left floating in her pool, the long list of suspects includes her family and her enemies in the anti-abortion lobby.
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