Monday, 23 March 2015

The new kid on the CBe website

A first for CBe: another publisher’s book up on the website – Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, the first book from a new press, Les Fugitives: see here.

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What gets published in the UK and what doesn’t is a mystery. Among my reading & re-reading over the last month: Baudelaire’s Intimate Journals, trans. Christopher Isherwood, and Palm-of-the-Hand Stories by Yasumari Kawabata, both from the 1980s/90s Picador Classics: why are these books no longer in print? Two memoir books by Grégoire Bouillier, available in translation in the US but not the UK. A novella by Ann Beattie, who has been publishing since the 70s, and I can’t see a single book from a UK publisher. Books in translation are currently more widely noticed and read than they have been for decades – thanks to, among others, Peirene Press, And Other Stories, Pushkin Press, and Christopher Maclehose – but even among English-language writers there’s a huge array that don’t get through to the UK except by way of NYRB or Dalkey Archive: Renata Adler, Alfred Hayes, Dorothy Baker, W. M. Spackman ...

The decisions of the big publishers about what to publish may increasingly be determined by statistics. According to a piece in the current issue of The Author on the gathering of data (Amazon, for example, can tell ‘if you finish a book or not, and how long it took’ – though this presumably applies only to ebook sales), there are companies who collect ‘reading data’, and ‘they are then using it to shape publishers’ publishing, sales and marketing efforts’.

Or, at the bottom end of the scale, you can simply read a book and like it so much that you want to do something about this, to celebrate it. So you find a way to publish it. It’s how CBe started, and also Les Fugitives. (Neither of us set out to be a ‘publisher’. For seven years I’ve bought ISBNs in the minimum batch number, because I’ve never seriously planned to do more.) There’s an affinity here. CBe is proud to have the book on the website.

1 comment:

Poetry Pleases! said...

Dear Charles

I think that there should definitely be more translated literature from around the world. I read a lot of stuff in French and Spanish that never seems to find its way into English.

Best wishes from Simon R. Gladdish