Top of the flops

I’ve just been sent a short article, which appeared in last Friday’s edition of the Scottish Daily Mail, on page 42, under the headline Megrahi book is a publishing flop.  It reads:

The Lockerbie bomber’s ‘deathbed memoirs’ have been a publishing flop. The book by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi contains revelations about alleged miscarriages of justice suffered by the convicted terrorist. But sales estimates for Megrahi: You Are My Jury suggest the public have avoided the authorised biography in their droves.

Preliminary sales data collected by Nielsen BookScan show It has sold only 664 copies in the UK since its publication on February 28. This includes copies sold on websites such as Amazon. Frank Duggan – president of Victims of Pan Am 103, which represents the families of the Americans who died – said: ‘The book is full of total nonsense. I’m pleased to hear it has not been an overwhelming success.’

In fact the book has done far better than either I, or the publisher, Birlinn, dared to imagine. The 664 figure cited in the article was the amount sold in the first two days – a very healthy number for a book of this type. To our amazement, the first print run sold out within four days. It also scored highly in various online charts, including some of Amazon’s. Before anyone asks, it’s still some way from making a profit and, given the high costs that we’ve incurred, neither I nor Birlinn anticipate making any.

If Frank Duggan has read the book, he will know that what it’s really filled with is Crown evidence, much of which was not presented to the trial court. Is he accusing the Crown, the police and their legion of witnesses of speaking ‘total nonsense’? Surely not.

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