Thursday, 17 November 2011

Dear sir or madam

The BBC film adaptation (starry: Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman) of Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch was broadcast this week in the US. The book was first published by CBe in 2009; it’s now with Faber. But any US TV-viewers interested in buying the book and going to are stalled: it has no US publisher; the Faber print edition is not listed there; there’s a single used CBe edition for $221. The Faber kindle edition (which you can see a sample of by clicking the CBe cover, and the setting is a mockery of the original) is available, but what if they want the book, the thing with pages between covers? I’ve been getting emails from the US from would-be buyers who’ve done some research on the net and found me. Some of them want to send me their poems. I compose replies. Officially I am not allowed to sell them one of the very few remaining CBe copies, as I am no longer the publisher, but if they want to send me money, inclusive of postage . . .

Why does buying a book have to be so complicated? And buying a train ticket, and phoning your bank, and going to see your GP? TfL have been sending emails telling people they can now get now ‘get real-time bus information on your phone, Smartphone or online’, which ‘gives control of your journey’: why do they think that telling people the bus is running late is something helpful and positive, something that makes life easier?

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