Thursday, February 18, 2010
Absence of the Hardback: New Buk from City Lights
Absence of the Hardback
Sorry I haven't checked in in a while--editorship at City Lights is wonderful, but pretty work-intensive, so I've been a little swamped of late.
In any case, you guys are going to kill me, but we've had to cancel the hardback version of Absence. The one of Portions didn't really work out for us; there were pre-orders for 500 off the top, ALL of which were returned. All of them. This was difficult to fathom, though I imagine the economy crashing during the season we published it was a factor. The other factor is that, when our distributor went around to bookstores with Absence, almost no one pre-ordered the hardback. Everyone wants the paper for price reasons. It's very disappointing because I thought the Portions hardback was a beautiful book and we seldom have the opportunity to publish hardbacks here.
So I'm not sure what to tell you all; the paperback of Portions is selling very well, but the hardback--after the initial flurry of the hardcore fans like yourselves--is just sitting there, costing us money due to warehousing the books and so on. They mock us with their future collectability, but right now, they sit there like stones.
In another note, yes the cover is still blue; the copies that have gone out so far are what we call galleys--an uncorrected advance copy in order for any writer to work on a review before it comes out--so those are all b&w to save money. Anyway--keep those galleys if you got 'em; there's only about 50 of them and there's a few typos subsequently corrected, making it a unique edition.
So again, I'm very sorry about the hardback; fire away your wrath at me, though bear in mind we really tried to make it happen, so try to cut us some slack. I think it's a pretty awesome book.
Also, to take some of the sting out of this, we're in the (very) preliminary stages of developing a third volume, but different from the others because it'll be entirely composed of Notes of a Dirty Old Man columns. Apparently there's a million of these that haven't been collected, so we thought something more focused than the more general uncollecteds we've done would be a good move at this point.
Alright--I'm outta here; let the beer bottles fly.