Saturday, 6 February 2010
The above is Middlemarch after being left out overnight. Severe curvature of the spine, but still perfectly readable. E-books, and their plus-factor that you can take 200 books on holiday without paying excess baggage: quite apart from the whole holiday thing, I would really like to know what happens to them if you leave them out overnight, or spill wine over them. Will they even still be there?
Actually, that can wait. More immediate is this. There should be some pick-up, shouldn’t there?, for Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch (CBe) following his Costa Book-of-the-Year triumph with A Scattering (Areté)? I’ve just been on Amazon: A Scattering is sales-ranked way below 100, The Song of Lunch at some abstract six-figure number, with ‘2 new’ available from £48.95 from ‘other sellers’.
Godsake. Stronger than that. I am not going to sign up with Amazon’s deal with small publishers (they buy at 60% discount, they pay me only after they’ve sold, months after, and I pay delivery plus an annual fee for the privilege). Because the work of writing and publishing these books is worth more than that. They can get the books from the CBe distributor, Central, as they’ve done for the other books and for this book too, previously. But right now they are choosing not to bother. Amazon, the chainstores too, are geared to deal in volume, in mass; small publishers are an irritation. You can buy from the website – and if you send me a nice email, we can talk a discount – or from your local bookseller, preferably an independent, at a fraction of the current Amazon price. I may, I do, need some help here; advice welcome.