Publishing’s answer to bonus footage

HarperCollins has launched a new imprint, Harper Perennial, designed to release books that the publisher compares to special edition DVDs. According to Mark Sanderson:

What the press release is trying to say is that each paperback will have added extras akin to the bonus footage, interviews and trailers routinely included on DVDs of feature films in a bid to justify their exorbitant price.

However, if the proof copies sent to these pages are anything to go by, an opportunity to do something genuinely different has been sadly missed. The extras which comprise the “P.S.” section at the back of Katie Hickman’s Courtesans, for example, are a frothy interview which would disgrace a magazine about soap operas – “On your own in the world with all the penalties that that [sic] might accrue to you as well as the benefits” is a typical sentence – a collection of favourable quotes from reviews and a list of further reading which omits publication details of the titles mentioned.

Ms Hickman even manages to plug one of her husband A. C. Grayling’s books in her “Top Ten Favourite Reads”. Such chaff is only likely to hinder the reader’s appreciation of Hickman’s account of celebrated grandes horizontales.

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