Biteback Publishing seizes the weekend's political agenda

  • November 15, 2010 11:44
  • Katy Scholes

This weekend, Biteback Publishing hit the front pages of both the Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. The publication of 5 Days to Power set the precedent for the weekend's political news agenda when the story broke in the Guardian on Saturday that a leaked document showed key Lib Dems thought the Liberal Democrat election plegde to scrap tuition fees within six years was untenable were a hung parliament to arise. "The Lib Dem document is disclosed in a new book on the coalition negotiations by Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East" the Guardian duly noted.

The story then took to the airwaves with Channel 4 News' Krishnan Guru-Murthy chiming: "Senior Liberal Democrats drew up plans to abandon the party's pledge to scrap student tuition fees two months before the General Election".

The exclusive serial revealed in the Mail on Sunday that David Cameron and Nick Clegg helped to prop up Gordon Brown in the days following the General Election and made him believe he still had a chance of clinging to power - full knowing that he didn't - for fear that Brown would up-sticks and leave without a Government in place.

David Laws' book 22 Days in May was credited by the MoS as "the first blow-by-blow insider's account of the high-octane and often acrimonious exchanges between the party leaders and rival negotiating teams."

Rob Wilson's book 5 Days to Power is available today for just £9.99 and David Laws's book 22 Days in May will be available from next Monday.

Both books will be available from Monday 22 November as e-books, priced £5.

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Reading about reading

  • November 11, 2010 16:54
  • Katy Scholes

When we were all kids, our parents told us to read more. If you are one of the five people born in the 80s who read enough for your parents never to tell you this, then you have missed out on what must be the most annoying parental trait of all time. More reading means less television to those of us born before the onslaught of gaming consoles, and meant fewer games of marbles/jacks/other things your grandparents recount fondly, to those people growing up without TV. We at Biteback are not going to lie, when we were 6, the fact that our parents had our best interests at heart escaped us. Now, having chosen a career in book publishing, we know they were right.

Before, you couldn’t pay us to read, but now, thanks to monthly instalments, we can tell you it’s awesome (we put this more down to maturing intellectually with age than the money coercing us into believing that we like books). The only other group of people who can claim that they get paid to read are newsreaders and, even though they don’t get to read books, they probably get paid more than us.

However, we have thankfully come out of the dark ages in which newsreaders were just actors who could be seen on Sesame Street the next morning. Today they can’t get to such a privileged position by just reading (although I’m sure there’s a sizeable amount of it still); they are informed journalists at the top of their game having reported expertly and professionally from all around the world. Maybe they do deserve to get paid more than us.

With all these first-hand fascinating experiences and unique, astounding stories, as well as informed insider knowledge on key events, some of these newsreaders decide that sometimes people don’t want to be read to, but quite like reading themselves (the dream of every parent). So they write a book.

What’s that? Peter Sissons is coming into the Biteback offices next week? That’s a crazy coincidence, I was just writing a blog about how much I’d love to read a newsreader’s autobiography.

Watch this space.

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Pulling the ladder up after them

  • November 11, 2010 11:13
  • Katy Scholes

Wednesday 10 November 2011 was a cold, grey day in London but, seeing as that isn’t anything new, we’ll assume that day will be remembered in history for the sounds travelling through the brisk air: the marching of feet, the roaring of police helicopters and the tapping of keypads and keyboards frantically tweeting. London was witness to a protest march of thousands against the government’s plans to raise tuition fees for university education.

Not to say I told you so, but our very own Nostradamus, Francis Beckett, did kind of predict such policies by studying the patterns in governmental spending over the last few decades. Not only that, but he probably saw them first. So, neerrrrr.

In his book What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us? Mystic Francis (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, I know) discusses the way in which the baby boomer generation are reversing the welfare state from which they have benefited most.

“Most capital expenditure for education and health no longer comes from the present-day taxpayer, but from the next generation, because the baby boomers have been too stingy to pay for the welfare state. This trick is done by means of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), which are scams for getting the cost of public buildings like schools and hospitals off the present government’s books, and placing them on the books of governments ten or twenty years hence.”

His arguments stretch beyond education to all aspects of politics, arguing that the children of the 1960s have betrayed the generations that came before and after, and maybe reading Francis will help in predicting further angry protests. He is, after all, the new Professor Trelawney (some character in Harry Potter who can see the future... we ran out of psychics).

Get your copy of Francis Beckett’s What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us? here for £12.99

NOTE: We at Biteback hope that the protest will be remembered for these brilliant placards...
1. I thought I was going to Alton Towers
2. This s**t wouldn’t happen at Hogwarts
3. I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policy
4. Kiss my arts
5. Is this the queue for Justin Bieber tickets?

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Since you asked...

  • November 10, 2010 15:13
  • Katy Scholes

Wonderful news! Not by popular demand but because we have mindblowing foresight - we are making all of our titles available as e-books.

I tell you this because we've had a few people approach us recently asking whether we'll be following the trend. Which of course we will. We've been discussing a strategy on e-books for a while and not at all belatedly have decided that the only strategy is all in. That makes it sound like my intimidating-come-stupid Texas Hold 'Em bluff - but we're deadly serious.

In fact, we're so serious that the first of our e-books - the eagerly anticipated 22 Days in May and 5 Days to Power - will be available on the day of their publication, 22 November.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on any newly published e-books. But for the time being, rest-assured, they're on the way...

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Reeeeading you is easy 'cause you're beautiful

  • November 10, 2010 13:02
  • Katy Scholes

I think, if we said “Margaret Thatcher has arrived” without any prior context you may think we were about thirty years too late in our assessment. For us though, it makes perfect sense, because we have been waiting for this momentous day for some time.

Margaret Thatcher: In Her Own Words has arrived into the Biteback offices.

Edited by Big Cheese, this extensive volume is a collection of Margaret Thatcher’s greatest and most famous speeches, alongside some of her most memorable quotes and the best of her interviews.

She transformed Britain, with her legacy and influence still visible today, and this book brilliantly catalogues the defining moments of her political career right on time for that fateful anniversary – 20 years since the Lady’s fall from power.

Now, we know you should never judge a book by its cover, but we do and we know you do too, so we made this book rather, shall we say, sexy? Perhaps ‘aesthetically-pleasing’ would be more appropriate, but we'll stick by our 'sexy' guns. Thank you Christopher Hitchens for this and for “she had the most beautiful skin I had ever seen on a woman”.

And, if it’s possible, it’s even better inside than it is on the outside.

Margaret Thatcher In Her Own Words is published on the 11th November and is available now to pre-order here in paperback format, priced £12.99 and here as a 3 disc audio CD, priced £19.99.

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