Thursday, October 18, 2007

This is What Print on Demand is all about...

A good customer of ours comes into the shop, buys a book and then flourishes another at us.

"This is brilliant! Why don't you have it in stock?"

We take these moments very seriously. We see Crockatt & Powell as a joint effort between us and our customers - if you've read a great book then tell us all about it. We try, but we can't read everything.

In fact Adam was aware of the book in question and had already ordered a copy - from the States. It is out of print here. In fact it gets worse. Not only is it out of print here the book is part of a quintet and only the first volume is available from the US.

The book in question was Cities of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif. As you can see from the Wiki entry this is a man whose work is of direct interest to anyone with even a passing interest in the state of the Middle East - ie just about anyone that thinks about anything...

And they are out of print.


  1. Swan by Naomi Campbell, the first eight volumes of Wayne Rooney's autobiography and Jordan's Big Beauty are also out of print. This is what print on demand will be all about.

  2. A cynic!

    The dream of POD is to have all books in print all of the time.

    I would argue that benefits books of minority interest since at present they are printed in smaller quantities than mass market stuff...

  3. hi,

    all three vols of teh trilogy are available from the lovely baker...

  4. here's an interesting one:

    "The light went out", by Bruce Hamilton, is sold on abebooks (by several dealers) as a print on demand reprint. It's a biography of the author's brother, Patrick Hamilton.

    However, somehow, this print on demand book is sufficiently rare that the dealers are selling it for $67-178!

    How can this be? It's not really print on demand as you're describing, obviously. Or it is, but nobody knows who to demand at.

    And can you get it for less somehow? Will buy if so...


    PS I have Sinclair Lewis' "Babbit" as a POD book. Pretty good it is too.

  5. Yes, book suppliers and readers should be a two way relationship, at best. The librarian at my (secondary) school is brilliant at eliciting recommendations from pupils which he then buys (budget permitting)to stock in the library. We also type up and print out their reviews to display as leaflets around the library. The pupils love it. As an English teacher (and an author!) I'm really keen for my pupils to feel a sense of involvement and 'ownership' in the school library, to try and foster a love of books. As well as being an avid reader, I have my first in a series of crime thrillers coming out in the spring, which is really exciting. My publisher describes my work as "seriously creepy" which I take as a compliment, under the circumstances. In real life I must be the least creepy person you could wish to meet.

  6. Hi Saber - I don't think so...

    If they are indeed available can you post the ISBNs or e-mail them to me?

  7. Hi Rich - I certainly cannot find a cheap copy of the Hamilton biog though I'm sure it's great.

    Prices start at £87.98 on Amazon. This is another problem. At present people can take advantage of the fact some very good books are hard to obtain and charge a premium for them if they do in fact have a copy.

    Then there are the real bastar*s you hint at who seem to be printing things on demand but charging loads 'cos they know they are hard to find...

  8. hi,
    we got all the books from baker. here are the isbns:
    vol 2:9780679745334
    vol 3:9780679755517

    see you soon. are you working saturday?


  9. Saber! I bow to your superior bookselling abilities!

    Are Fulham playing on Saturday? Yes they are.

    Are they playing at home?

    No, they are away at Sunderland.

    Am I working on Saturday?


  10. PS You do realise this entire post is now pointless don't you?

    But it was worth it...