It’s not an ego thing – not entirely, anyway – but rather much-needed proof that this thing; This Thing that you spent all those months working on, actually exists. It really is an actual book that strangers can actually buy and actually read.
It’s at about this point that you feel dizzy and sick and have to get out of the shop as fast as you can.
And now, thanks to technology, there’s another variation of this experience – the first time someone you don’t know emails you a photo of your book in situ. That’s an extra level of weird as it drives home even more firmly the fact that anyone can buy it and read it.
My own experience of this, with Bringing Nothing To The Party, came the day after the launch party, when Paul Farnell emailed me a photograph of the book piled up on a table in Waterstone’s, Edinburgh.
Since then, a steady stream of emails, texts and Twitters have come in, with sightings from the length and breath of the country.
Thanks to Patrick, I know I’m now sold out in Godalming; thanks to Kate, I know there are two piles on the Biography table of Waterstone’s Bridlesmith Gate (Nottingham) and a further outward-facing stack on the main shelf; thanks to Rob and Stephanie (above), I know that Waterstone’s on the Strand has gone the extra mile with the thing and thanks to Ben – well – read for yourself…
Really enjoying the first half (so far) of your new book. I picked up a copy on Tuesday from the Waterstones next door to Tottenham Court Rd tube station. It took 20 minutes for one of the employees to track down a single copy of the book – they actually had 47 copies in the store but no one knew where they were all hiding. You should head down there and kick up a shit-storm (with the obligatory blog post)!
…and so on and so on and so on. In fact the High Street seems to be saturated with the damn things.
Unfortunately – and with pitch-perfect irony – the web hasn’t been quite so helpuful…
For the past couple of months, I’ve been plugging the book on the site and urging people to pre-order it on Amazon. “Get it as soon as it’s published!” I said. “Save yourself the hassle of the High Street,” I suggested.
Yeah – like bollocks.
For reasons that I’ve spent the past three days trying to fathom, not only have Amazon failed to dispatch any of the pre-orders, but they’re still showing delivery as being due some time in September. Of course Orion are on the case, as are various disgruntled pre-orderers who have emailed me (and Amazon) to ask WTF? This afternoon I sent my second mail to their enquiries address to try to get answers. So far nothing.
All I can say is that I’m sorry, and I’m doing all I can to establish the cause of the delay. We all know it’s a fucking database error somewhere. Fucking stupid technology. I just hope you think the book has been worth waiting for when it arrives.
And if anyone from Amazon is reading this, if you can press a button somewhere and fix this, I’ll be forever in your debt. After all, I did give you the bastards the benefit of the doubt.
Meantime: Waterstone’s guide to stock levels in individual stores is here. By all means cancel your Amazon pre-order and hit the High Street. Fuck ‘em, right?