Discover an institution in the British book world!

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan are the lucky parents of an extraordinary baby: the Richard and Judy Book Club.

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The British people that will happen to see this article will probably know what I am talking about, but I wanted to present this amazing book club because it is an essential feature in the British publishing world. Their club is awarded the title of most influential on the British publishing world by The Observer for their best-seller lists. It contained many awarded and famous authors such as Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth, Cecilia Aherne’s PS: I Love You, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult to cite but just a few, some of them have even been turned into movies which you have probably heard about.

To give an idea to the public of how they came to create such an institution in the British book world, their career history is very much the same as their American counterpart, the internationally acclaimed Oprah Winfrey. They are known for their career of broadcast journalism, which is also how they met. Yes, they are indeed happily married since 1986. They hosted a show, This Morning, for over ten years, but the people associated them so closely to the show that they were offered their own chat show: Richard and Judy. The show featured various subjects, from wine tasting to politics. The most interesting (in my opinion of course) remains their book club. The authors have a huge interest in being selected in their list because at least eight authors have become millionaires thanks to their “support”. Just as much as the Goncourt helps the sales of French authors, a place on their bestseller list is guaranteed to boost the sales of the author selected, sometimes resulting into selling millions of copies. They have a great campaign to present their best-seller with posters such as this appearing throughout London:

Crédit: Lisa Carré

Although, the merit of this book club can’t be entirely attributed to them. The co-creator is also an engaged participant that enable the club to survive: Amanda Ross, who launched the project in 2004, though at the time the success of a broadcast book club was not a foregone conclusion.

They have a website where they present podcasts, and there is a section on their current reads. Generally, though, Richard and Judy will invite two celebrities to talk about the book. In 2009, they started promoting child literacy by adding a segment on author writing for children and encouraging parents to buy more books and to read them to their children. They also have a search for best-sellers reserved for first-time author since 2008. The winner is offered £50,000 and a contract with a publishing house.

However, I must add a critic, because I can’t help myself and I believe that people reading this article are serious readers who will understand my point of view. The Richard and Judy Book club is a good thing, it encourages people to read, it helps the sales of some authors etc. BUT this will not provide anything new or exciting to the already knowledgeable reader. Richard and Judy are hosts to a media shows and this is just a segment of their profitable industry and while I think it is a formidable enterprise – expending readership to a wider population – I believe it won’t be to everyone taste. I think the success of it is probably due to the familiar and welcoming personality of its hosts. Of course, it does help that Richard Madeley is also a talented writer on his own right, his last book was published in 2016 by Simon and Schuster UK was a hit.

Anyway, this is an agreeable format to present the trends in books but it is as well an opportunity for a selected few beginner authors to appeal to a wider audience and have their sale multiply. However, I would advise people in the publishing industry to keep an eye on their list, you may never know if one your book might appear in it, and then … JACKPOT!!!

If you are interested take a look at their website:

Richard and Judy Book Club

Article rédigé par Lisa Carré


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