NEWS: Scratching Shed Publishing reprints three rugby league titles

Scratching Shed Publishing has reprinted three recently-released rugby league books, co-director Tony Hannan has revealed.

Demand from buyers has meant Ray French… and rugby, Reluctant Hero: The John Holmes Story and Dave Hadfield’s Down and Under have all been reprinted in recent weeks.

'Reluctant Hero: The John Holmes Story' is one of three books Scratching Shed Publishing has recently reprinted

Hannan told Rugby League Books: “The fact that we’ve had to produce these reprints is very encouraging.”

He added: “Times are tough in the book trade generally at the moment. In the last few days Waterstone’s have announced that they’ll be closing 20 stores, and small independent stores have also been struggling. On top of all of that, it’s only last year that we lost Borders.

“For something like rugby league to continue to perform well – albeit in a niche way – is very helpful, especially to smaller publishers like ourselves.”

Hannan cited the strong feelings of many rugby league supporters as one of the key reasons behind the continued success of rugby league books across the market.

“In some ways, they are more passionate than fans of other sports,” he said. “Perhaps that’s because it’s very hard to read about it anywhere else. Coverage is shrinking in certain parts of the media and people get very hungry for information.”

In the reprinted version of Ray French… and rugby, author Ray French has written a new page about his recent MBE award.

NEWS: Dave Hadfield recommends…

Dave Hadfield, the Independent’s rugby league reporter, has been busy putting forward his suggestions for some Christmas reading.

Among the books he’s recommended are:

There’s also a couple more suggestions, including a cracking DVD of the sport’s greatest ever tries.

We’ll be running reviews on all of the above, as well as hopefully talking to some of the authors involved. In the meantime, why not have a read of our interview with Ray French.

INTERVIEW: Ray French… and rugby – memories of a sporting great

Rugby league author Ray French

Rugby league author Ray French

Ray French is a rugby league legend. We’ve tried, but there is no other way of putting it.

A dual code international more than 30 years before the likes of Jason Robinson and Henry Paul, he won the Challenge Cup in 1966 before moving into radio and, more famously, television. He was the BBC’s commentator on every Challenge Cup Final between 1982 and 2008.

Asking Ray French about the magic of the Challenge Cup is like opening a box of chocolates: it can be difficult to know where to start.

For nearly 30 years, French’s unique voice broadcast the competition’s climax to the nation’s armchair viewers – but his personal love affair with rugby league’s oldest trophy is now well into its sixth decade. [Read more…]