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Monday, February 15, 2010

"It's out of stock"

Before Christmas a small publisher put out a picture book called "Lost London" which was largely given over to pictures of London before the wrecking ball and the developer. It attracted very good reviews and in the run-up to the festive season it sold out entirely. I've been trying to find a copy ever since. Amazon have none, nor do any of the book shops in London. The publishers have been trying to distribute a second impression for two months now. I keep calling into Waterstones in Islington to see if it's come in yet. I tried for the third time tonight. They still hadn't received it but they did tell me that this one shop had placed orders for sixty-six copies. That's sixty-six copies of a book with a list price of £29.99 ordered by just one shop. That's nearly £2,000-worth of turnover. In one shop. Assuming this is replicated all over the London area, that's a quite decent profit for the publisher and a nice feeling for the author. He'll probably never again do anything quite this popular. It beggars belief that in this day and age, with supply overwhelming demand in every other area of the economy, that the book publishing industry thinks it can still get away with keeping people waiting this long.