Monday, 13 September 2010

A Flutter on the Booker

Man Booker PrizeEmma Donoghue’s Room is the favourite to win the 2010 Booker prize according to bookmaker Paddy Power. Paddy Power would expect a total stake of about €100,000 annually on book related bets, a figure which is growing annually. The presence of controversial or well-known authors on shortlists increases interest. Bets are being placed on such book related issues as unit sales of Peter Andre's biography versus Katie Price's, or sales of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. The bookmaker is offering odds of 4/1 for Seamus Heaney and 11/4 for Sinead Morrissey to win the 2010 Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. According to The Bookseller magazine, spokesperson Ken Robertson recalls that Paddy Power's largest literary loss so far was at the 2005 Man Booker, when the bookie offered unfavourable odds of 8/1 on eventual winner John Banville's The Sea - losing £17,000 in the process. Paddy Power recently opened a book on first week sales of Tony Blair's A Journey, offering 5/2 odds on the units sold being between 27,501 and 30,000 copies or in excess of 30,000 copies. According to Robertson, "over the past week we've noticed that quite a high percentage of [online] punters betting on the Tony Blair book are people who have opened new accounts" i.e. non-traditional gamblers. Paddy Power is currently accepting bets on events as disparate as the next Irish president and the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Stirling Prize for Architecture. The Bookseller reports that up to half a million pounds a year is currently being waged betting on literary prizes in the UK. Graham Hill, a spokesperson for William Hill bookmakers said "It's probably not the same people who bet on the World Cup, but that's the whole point of the exercise. It's people who wouldn't normally have come across it. It does attract an audience we would never normally get to”. More info…

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