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Booker Prize winner should get financial advice from Yann Martel

Booker Prize winner should get financial advice from Yann Martel

The votes have been counted and the winner announced: British author Howard Jacobson will take home this year’s Man Booker Prize for his darkly comic novel The Finkler Question. And though the glory that accompanies such a prestigious win is surely delightful, Jacobson is no doubt also pondering how this prize will translate into sales and cold, hard cash. Perhaps he should talk to Canada’s very own Booker winner.

Yann Martel‘s Life of Pi, which won the Booker in 2002, has sold more than 1.2 million copies (that’s worth about $15 million), more than double any other winner. Over the past 12 years, the award has meant sales of at least 180,000 copies, which would be a leap for The Finkler Question, whose sales sat at a paltry 8,500 before winning the prize. Its publisher is currently gearing up for a huge printing order of 150,000 additional copies.

Martel’s homegrown supremacy has Canadian books blog Bookninja.com pondering if any Canadian literary prizes have the same sort of sales boosting potential offered by the Booker. Popular wisdom says there is a Giller Prize bump, but data keeper BookNet Canada says the official numbers are a secret. What they do reveal is that appearing on the Giller short list—announced last week—usually means a jump in sales of about 600 percent. That’s sure to have newbie Giller nominees like Johanna Skibsrud and Alexander MacLeod fantasizing about the extravagant purchases their new-found riches will finance (we’re guessing fancy pens and americanos).

Man Booker Prize 2010: All the winners, and the 2010 shortlist [Guardian]Capitalizing on the Giller Announcements [Booknet Canada]The Booker sales data [Bookninja]Big print run for Booker winner Howard Jacobson [BBC]

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