What do all these people have in common?
Sheryl Gascoigne, Jeremy Clarkson, Peter Kay, Jo Brand, Ozzy Osborne, Jack Dee, Chris Evans, John Barrowman, Katie Price, Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Loose Women, Justin Lee Collins, Gordon Ramsay, Al Murray, JLS, Leona Lewis and Ant and Dec...
They all have books out at the moment, and they dominate the front of house sales display in each branch of W H Smith. If ever evidence were needed of our dumbed down culture, this list of mediocre literary offerings provides it. The only quality books in the same display are William Shawcross's biography of the Queen Mother and Andrew Marr's History of Britain. Are there really only two such books which merit a main display? Or is it because the publishers have to pay a marketing fee to get the position, and the only books which will recoup the fee are the celeb books? You know the answer.
I am not singling out W H Smith. The other chain bookshops do the same thing. I understand the financial reasons for operating in this manner, but it still pains me to think of all the brilliant books which are published which don't get shelfspace let alone a front of house display.
Thank God for the internet. Without online bookstores we'd never get to know about half the books which are published.
I am intending to introduce a new regular books feature on this blog. If you want to nominate a new political title you have read and think worthy of mention, do let me know.