08 October 2010

What's good for the Goose is good for the Giller

Wayzgoose is creeping closer. And somewhere in the midst of all the fall book production and Giller reprint madness we’re going to have to find some time to sweep the floors and clear off some tables to make room for our company.

In the meantime, Tim Bowling’s book is nearly ready to go out the door and Bruce Johnson’s novel is going to film first of next week in the hopes of having copies by wayzgoose. Norm Ravvin’s novel is ready to go right on its heels.

And we’re now also hustling to marshal the paper and resources to start an initial reprint of Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists. Whether or not Johanna actually wins the Giller Prize (and she’s got a great shot – it’s a pretty open field) it promises to be a pretty entertaining fall. It will be interesting to see how well the moneygrubbing corners of the book trade survive dealing with an independent literary press with it’s feet firmly planted on the ground, a press that deals with the world one book at a time off the tips of its publishers very fingers, where books are real things and made in-house and not simply widgets conjured into existence by the tens of thousands from corner offices with a cellphone call and a cheque book between meetings.

Yeah, I know we have an astonishing amount of work ahead of us if the ‘Giller bump’ actually pans out, a lot of labour, capital and material to get assembled and pointed in the right direction during what is already an overtaxed time of year here at the press. The reality is that people who want this book will most likely have to wait a bit for their copy. That’s the brute reality of making things the way we make things. But when they do get hold of a copy, they will get hold of a real thing, a book worth reading and rereading, and one equal to that task.

If The Sentimentalists does win, it will be the first time the Giller-winning book will also have been the winner of the Alcuin Society’s award for Excellence in Canadian Book Design (though if I remember correctly, Kong Njo got a third place Alcuin for Atwood’s Alias Grace and Spencer Francy Peters had an honourable mention for Richler’s Barney’s Version). So I feel that it is important that the 6328th copy of the book we manufacture (or, if you believe the numbers hype, the 20,328th) be every bit as well made as the first one, and not just a disposible rectangular hunk of woodpulp and glue temporarily propped into the shape of a mass market novel, a mere shadow of its beginnings. I’m not interested in that, whatever anyone else may think. I'm a crummy capitalist; I believe above all else that readers deserve books worthy of their content, and the content of this book is exceptional.

(And yes, for those indifferent to the physical world, we'll see about getting something out there for your ephemeral e-reader devices. When your eyes bug out, your thumbs drop off and your battery dies, we'd also be happy to sell you a real book.)

Okay, back to work!



Beth said...

Love it!
What a delight to hear you rant Andrew!
Miss you,

Anonymous said...

I deeply despise your offensive "footnote" towards those who do have electronic book readers. In particular, because there are hundreds of people with bugged out eyes (aka sight problems) and achy fingers (due to illnesses like arthritis) who who would have had to give up the pleasure of reading if they had to resort only to "real books" instead of having the opportunity to use "ephemeral e-readers".

Taming said...

I have a physical disability and low vision. I had not been able to read comfortably for 3 + years before I got my Ebook. Shame on you for your disgusting attitude of baseless superiority.

Anonymous said...

It would seem that the two people who have been offended by your comments on e-book readers are not "indifferent to the physical world".
It would also seem that they can't distinguish between pre-existing medical conditions and similar conditions that have been brought about by the use of these devices.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to be gracious? If you did not want the attention for your book, or the accompanying pressures of a nomination, why did you bother to submit The Sentimentalists for consideration to the Giller? Gaspereau does beautiful books and is to be commended for it. Be happy for the recognition, be proud of your accomplishments, and keep your commitment to what you value and do well without stooping to this kind of petty preciousness.