2015 Man-Booker Winner Announced


Sorry I'm a little late on this one - the 2015 Man Booker Prize was announced on Tuesday, and according to the judges it was a no-brainer. The five judges separately and unanimously chose A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Shelf Awareness stated that Michael Wood, the chair of judges, described it as "an extraordinary book" that "we didn't actually have any difficulty deciding on--it was a unanimous decision, a little bit to our surprise." 

A Brief History of Seven Killings was published by One World in the U.K. and Riverhead Books in the U.S. With the U.K. version listing as the true first.


Book Value:


Signed first edition / first printings are listing from $500 (U.S. edition) to $1,200  $2,300 (U.K. edition) over on Abebooks. 

Unsigned (hardcover) copies are listing from $225 (U.S. edition) up to $805 (U.K. edition) on Abebooks. Amazon & Barnes and Noble listings are much lower, but do not specify the print run. (I ordered a used copy from one of the B&N marketplace sellers for $23 with tax and shipping, so we'll see what the print run is when it arrives).

(Edit 11/2/15: I finally received my copy from the marketplace seller. It is a 6th printing.)


Also interesting to note, one Abebooks seller reports that the U.S. first edition has two states:  one "with black cloth and white lettering on the spine" and "Some first printings of this book have green lettering on the spine and a red concentric circle stamped on the front board of the book."



The U.S. edition
Published by Riverhead Books, 2015


The U.K. edition
Published by Oneworld Publications, 2014









Print Runs:


I checked the stock of my local Barnes & Noble and they didn't have any copies (nor did any of the B&N stores in the neighboring towns). Several online bookstores (including Strand Bookstore) have stated that they are sold out and will be getting more copies in. This could indicate smaller print runs, although given that the book was published in October of 2014 and that it's won the praise of many, including The New York Times Book Review,  Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, the American Book Award..., it's possible that the hardcover is in the multiple printings by now. (It's also possible that the publishers focused on paperbacks for subsequent printings).

At the time of this posting, however, I found no mention of print run numbers or listings for 2nd or 3rd printings for the hardcover version.  (Edited 10/20/2015) I found mentions of 2nd printings of the U.K. edition (still listing in the $175+ range).

Several listings state that both the U.S. and the U.K. first printings are "rare," leading one to believe that the first print run was low.

A Wednesday, October 14, 2015 article at The Evening Standard states that One World publishers (U.K. edition) will be printing an additional 80,000 (softcover) copies of the title to keep up with demand, but doesn't mention the initial print run. It does state that the total run so far, including this 80,000 will be 107,000. The Bookseller reports that One World will also be publishing a special edition of 10,000 hardback copies, but gives no further information. The article further states that "A Brief History of Seven Killings has sold 12,237 copies through Nielsen BookScan across all editions for £103,077, a 82.8% increase on its volume before the shortlist announcement." It's not clear if this is just the U.K. editions or U.K. plus U.S.

This is James' 3rd novel. His first, John Crow's Devil, was published in 2005, and his second, The Book of Night Women, was published in 2009. 


Book Tour:

Folks in the Chicago area can hear James talk about the book (and get their copies signed) on October 31, 2015:
MARLON JAMESOct. 31, 4:30 p.m. 
Marlon James sets his gangster historical fiction, "A Brief History of Seven Killings," in his native Jamaica, with the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley as fulcrum. Long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize, the novel is told in a patois by multiple voices. 
$12 | Fourth Presbyterian Church | 126 E. Chestnut St. | 312-494-9509 | ChicagoHumanities.org

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