Is Apple Getting into the Book Prize Game aPEELING?

In News Blog by Edward Nawotka

This past week UK’s Sunday Telegraph reported that the Orange Prize for Fiction, established in 1996 as an international award honoring excellence in women’s writing, may have found a new sponsor: Apple.

Orange, a U.K. mobile services company, withdrew its partnership in May while announcing its new partnership deal, starting in 2013, with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

When news of Orange’s withdrawal became public, the humor inherent in the idea that another fruit-related company would take their spot was inevitable.  The Telegraph reported that “literary circles joked that Apple or BlackBerry could step into the breach to preserve the fruity theme, and quipped that they wanted to compare ‘Apples with Oranges.’

On Twitter, London literary agent Sam Copeland remarked on the Apple rumors, “So, the Orange Prize is to become the Apple Prize.  That’s aPEELING news for writers.”

But of course, as of now, nothing has been formalized or finalized.  E-Reader manufacturer Kobo is said to be in the running as well. Samantha Harris, a spokeswoman for the prize said in a statement that “there has been no comment made specifically on those reports nor have we confirmed or denied Apple is an interested party,” going on to add that “positive discussions are taking place with a number of interested parties.”

Among the past winners of the prize are Carol Shields, Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and 2012’s winner, Madeline Miller.  Missing from the list is Jeanette Winterson, whose first book, Oranges are Not The Only Fruit, may prove, should the rumors be correct, strangely prophetic.

Of course, this all begs the question of what impact the tech giant might have on the prize. Surely they have the cash to make it worthwhile. And such a high profile company — arguably one of the richest in the world whose annual revenue roughly equals that of the entire global book business — might bring the winners extra attention.

How do you feel about it? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.