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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.

12 comments:

office pest said...

Try this;

http://www.english-heritageshop.org.uk/mall/productpage.cfm/EnglishHeritage/_15399/288654/LOST%20LONDON%201870-1945:

OP

backwards7 said...

Throughout the 1920s, H V Morton wrote a series of vivid newspaper columns that painted a moving portrait of London as it was then.

The Unborn Home 1

The Unborn Home 2

The Unborn Home 3

Emma said...

RIBA's bookshop might be worth trying - they stock a lot of the English Heritage titles. The London Transport Museum bookshop and Stanfords might be worth a try as well.

smfifteen said...

Empty shelves are one of my (many) pet hates, and surely one of the biggest retailing crimes there is. I choose to walk into a particular shop (rather than one of their rivals), with money in my pocket to buy an item. I've made it easy for them: no sales talk or promotional effort is required on their part. But, the item I want is out of stock, leaving me no choice but to go to a competitor. Another sale lost.
The same applies to being made to queue up for ages to hand your money over: there's a recession on, there should be staff lining up to snatch the money out of customers' hands, not making it a test of endurance for them.

David Hepworth said...

A few people have suggested that I order it from English Heritage but I'm suspicious of sites I've never used, not because I don't trust them but because I'm fearful that it's already out of stock and I won't find out for a couple of weeks time, by which time it may be back in the shops.

Andy said...

You could try going to Kenwood House (where the exhibition is). We picked a copy up from there with £5 discount on Friday.

Lee said...

FWIW, this site aggregates the various online retailers.

http://www.find-book.co.uk/0955794986.htm

It seems that Tesco has a copy, for £20. Though I do stress 'seems'.

Cocktails said...

David, if you can't get a copy of the book within a month (!) you can always go and see the author talk about the pictures:

http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk/lostlondon

I'm sure that they'll have books for sale after as well - assuming they've got some of course.

Five-Centres said...

I saw it in Waterstones in Gower Street not three weeks ago. They had a few left...

Friday said...

I keep calling into Waterstones in Islington ... Assuming this is replicated all over the London area,...

Having spent many hours in Waterstones in Islington I would guess that demand there is not replicated all over London.

David Hepworth said...

Well, yesterday afternoon I went into Hatchards in Piccadilly and before I'd got the request out of my mouth they said "they're reprinting". I went further along the same road to the large Waterstones where they looked on their system and said they had orders for well over a hundred. In my (admittedly historical) experience of working in shops, when something is really out of stock everybody in the trade knows because they're getting asked for it five times a day.

Keith Howie said...

David - If you haven't already picked this up, I saw it racked up in HMV Oxford Circus in the basement for £18.