Fifteen years ago this month I collected the first books from the printer, 10 minutes from where I live. I was happy and deeply disappointed: now that I had the bound copies in my hand I could see that the inside margins were around 3mm too narrow. The readers wouldn’t notice, most of them, but I did. An uncle had died and left me £2,000 and the previous August I’d had the notion of spending this money on publishing four books: my uncle’s money paid for 250 copies of each. There weren’t going to be any more. But then there were. Below, the first four books, and a photo taken this summer of every title published to date.
The following month, in an attempt to make the books more visible, I started this blog (this was 2007). On the very first day – 21 December – I wrote four short posts, and going back to them is strange. The first post is titled ‘Blush’, which happens to be title and subject of a collaborative book CBe eventually got around to publishing in 2019. The second post has the photo, used above, of the first four books. The fourth post has a photo of a schoolroom in Hungary in the 1930s which hung around for a while, waiting to features on the cover of Ágota Kristóf’s The Illiterate, published this year.
A snapshot history of CBe, written in instalments over the years, is downloadable (pdf) from the ‘About and News’ page of the website.
Also available from the website home page, not one but two Season Tickets. The original is still there, 12 books for £75, free delivery, but 12 books amount to a big ask so there’s now a 6-books-for-£40 option as well. If you are wondering what to give X or Y for Christmas, here is your answer. Thank you, everyone who stopped by and picked up a book.