Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Straight to Paperback

The least pleasant part of working in a bookstore is the moment when I have to tell the customer what the total is. Unless he or she is buying a kid's book or a magazine or Dover edition, the total is always a lot. And in our New York county, sales tax is 8%. Yow! People almost always recoil or cringe or turn the book over to check the price or ask to see the receipt. Twenty-seven dollars is too much to pay for a book. It just is!

So, okay, it's great that Lydia Davis's new book is going straight to paper. I will save some bucks and won't feel bad when I convince someone to buy it. And maybe she wanted it that way; maybe she requested it. But if not, I can't help but feel it's a bit of a smack in the face. Davis is serious and good, truly an original, ambitious voice, and this book which is marketed as a piece of fluff, as being "like a comfy chair in a sunny window: soft, warm..." FSG gives the hard covers? A book about dogs in New York deserves the hardwearing format, and Lydia Davis does not?

It's a little hard to take.

1 comment:

bhadd said...

Good question--can sales justify indignity? Better: consider the quality of buys books're.

The Hood Company