Wednesday, August 29, 2001


The relationship between authors and booksellers is a strange one. Especially from an author's point of view. (From a bookseller's point of view I am sure that mostly authors are just another kind of bookbuyer, only one more prone to find their books Spine Out and put them Face Out than the other kinds.) For an author, of course, it's a much more complicated relationship. It's more like a marriage. Although the booksellers never mind if the authors forget their birthdays. And they never grumble at you for leaving the toothpaste top off, or get you out of trouble by sliding over just as you're trying to remember whether the person at the funeral you're talking to is your wife's cousin or her dentist by saying "I'm pleased to see you've already run into Harry-who-runs-that-restaurant-you-like" so you can wrench the conversation off of the relative advantages of bridgework versus titanium tooth implants (which neither of you were doing very well at anyway) and head for the relative safety of aubergines. Which Americans call eggplants.

Come to think of it, it's not much like a marriage at all.

Which is a train of thought I wandered onto after getting two phone calls in close succession, one from a family member who went out to buy a copy of American Gods from their local bookshop, and who was told that They'd Sold Out Of All Their Copies Surprisingly Fast, so they Didn't Have Any. And on enquiring when they'd be getting more copies in, was told, disapprovingly, that It Was A Hardback. So they had No Plans to Order Any More, but the paperback would be Out Next Year.

And the other telling me that Booksense, which is an association of Independent Booksellers, has a list called the Booksense 76 -- books chosen by Independent Booksellers as books they like handselling, and feel need more attention -- go to for more information -- and that American Gods is on the next Booksense 76 list, at #2.