I was reading an interview this morning with Richard and Judy, no doubt because they were presenting the Galaxy British Book Awards on Channel 4 this afternoon, and it certainly made for interesting reading! I’ll get on to the Book Awards later but meanwhile get a load of this.

The Richard and Judy Book Club was launched on their chat show in 2004, and since then it has catapulted the novels included to the top of the bestseller list. (not unlike Oprah’s Book Club and I’m sure they would love the comparison) The fact that more people are reading more books is of course a good thing and I don’t have a problem with that. I do have a little bit of a problem with celebrities recommending books and the fact that just on their recommendation, the books end up in the bestseller list and even more people buy them almost mindlessly just because bestseller list = good books in most people’s minds. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good books on the R & J list, but those books were already successful enough to make it on their own before R & J got involved, so in that respect they just get their sales boosted a little more. But where on earth do they get the rest of them from?

It was never quite clear how the books were chosen or even who was doing the choosing and what criteria was applied to the process, but I always suspected that it wasn’t R & J.

Seems that I was right, not really a big surprise since they are really no more than a brand name now.

“It’s made us pick up books we’d normally never have read” Judy Finnegan.

Really Judy, you would never normally pick up the books that you are now telling the British public to buy?

“Amanda Ross, who is managing director of Cactus TV and selects the books for the club”

And there we have it, Amanda Ross, a TV executive selects the books and not Richard and Judy. Surprise surprise. So all those people who hang on every word that R & J say, and can’t wait to find out which books they have chosen, now know that they are not responsible for choosing the books at all, and not only that but these are books that “they’d normally never have read” !!! So with over 200,000 books published each year, just how does a book make it to the Richard and Judy Book Club list?

Greasy palms anyone?