Madonna and Becks go head to head in battle of the books
Sunday August 24, 2003
If you thought the hype surrounding the last Harry Potter book was huge, the news from the publishing industry is: you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Next month, books by Madonna and David Beckham, two of the world’s greatest icons of popular culture, are set to go head to head within three days of each other. Bookshops around the world are preparing to be swamped and publishers are relishing the prospect of another round of huge sales – and equally big publicity.
First off the block is Beckham. On 12 September, more than 1 million copies of his autobiography, My Side, will be released. The launch stretches from the Far East and Australia to Europe, the US and the tip of Africa. But as stockists struggle to get copies on to the shelves for the expected queues of the England football captain’s fans, they will also be preparing for what may be an even bigger launch.
On 15 September, the first of Madonna‘s children’s books, The English Roses, will be published. It too is aimed at a global audience. The book will be released in more than 100 countries simultaneously and in more than 30 languages.
Madonna, whose previous ventures into publishing have met mixed reaction from the public and critics, is planning to throw two enormous parties for the occasion. She will celebrate the launch on 13 September with 300 children in London, followed the next day by an event in Paris where representatives and children from several countries are expected to gather with the pop idol.
Secrecy has surrounded the Madonna launch, both to protect the contents of the books from being leaked, but also to stoke up interest. Nicholas Callaway, founder of Callaway editions, which is publishing the books in the US, said: ‘This is all being kept under wraps because we want people to be reacting to the book.’ But one thing not in short supply is gushing praise. ‘Madonna is once again going to surprise, delight and lead the way. She has accomplished something rare and wonderful,‘ Callaway added.
The exact details of both launches have been shrouded in mystery. Madonna’s team at Penguin, which signed a multi-million pound deal with the star, say they want the focus to be on the book itself, not on her.