Submitted by megan on Fri, 09/09/2005 - 17:23
The smartest thing I did when I put out my chapbook last year was to get an ISBN and go through the legal deposit hoops. Because I sent This is What She Said along, Library and Archives Canada catalogued it (check out my record), and thus it showed up on some list of new Canadian publications somewhere. All very fun to have a permanent record, of sorts.
Then, Coutts Library Services picked it up. They sell books to libraries. I imaging they pour through various lists and catalogues from publishers and our esteemed national institution, pick the books they think libraries will want and buy copies to sell around Canada. First time I got a purchase order from them, I laughed – head thrown back, mouth open big, my surprised laugh – and didn’t fill the order till I got a second warning. Figured they weren’t serious the first time.
Mailed off the chapbook, and lost a tiny shirt on the whole process. I only get $3.60 wholesale per book, and shipping was $2.50, which is what it cost to print each book in the first place. Enh, I thought, feeling like a grown up is worth the loss. The cheque comes, and lo and behold, it’s made out to Asteroidea Press. My bank doesn’t know from Asteroidea Press.
I could have called Coutts and asked them to reissue the cheque under my name, but for less than 4 bucks? Whatever. I decided I’d frame my one and only business cheque and get a chuckle out of the knuckleheads who thought even one university might want to buy my book.
Well. Part 2.
Last week I got another purchase order. That means someone bought the one copy Coutts had. Stranger things, I figured. Seeing as how two framed cheques for $3.60 wouldn’t be any funnier than one framed cheque for $3.60, I called Coutts and asked them to put my name on the next cheque. Out of curiosity, I asked who bought the first copy.
University of Toronto.
Ha! HA! And Sandy over at Coutts added two more copies onto my current purchase order. One for Simon Fraser, one for the National Library of Scotland. And one for Coutts to keep in stock, because I’m sure now that two Canadian universities have my book, they’ll all be clamouring.
Makes me feel quite accomplished, it does.
And then I think of my tiny book lost in the stacks and stacks of Robarts library and it feels more like pissing down a long long rope. Who knows who’s at the end? If anyone.
But I’m tickled nonetheless and will dutifully send my three copies out, and charge them shipping this time. A whole $13, all to myself.