...I buy a copy, as is customary on these occasions, and invite him to sign it. It occurs to me that this is more than I have paid for any book since I last attended a launch. Normally, I rely on two-for-one (or similar) offers, Amazon or Abe Books, and tokens I receive as presents. Are book launches, I wonder, the only occasions when publishers and authors still benefit from anything like the full cover price? And, since these launches are attended largely by other writers, do authors now make a living chiefly by selling their books to each other? Is this sustainable?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The goon squad
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the launch for the latest and fattest edition of Nicholas Pegg’s The Complete David Bowie, which was really an excuse to catch up with a few old chums and listen to Bowie’s long-lost cover versions of songs from Bugsy Malone (or maybe not). In the excitingly new-look New Statesman (“We are using an entirely new headline font, Unit Slab...”) Peter Wilby describes a similar occasion: