Last night the Giller Prize winner was revealed as The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud. I love the Giller Prize, but unfortunately it normally takes a while for these Canadian books to make it across to the UK (Annabel will be the first from the short list to reach UK shores – in March 2011). I am used to waiting to read the Giller winner, but it seems that many people in Canada are upset about having to wait. The publisher, Gaspereau Press, is very small and initially only printed 800 copies of the book. Once it was short listed they started printing 1000 copies a week, but were unable to keep up with demand. Gaspereau Press hand-make each copy to a high standard and are refusing to outsource production as this would lower the quality of the book. Publisher Andrew Steeves is ignoring demands to mass produce the book claiming:
I admire his desire to make each of his books beautiful, but I think I’m one of the few book lovers who prefers scruffy books. For me the beauty is in the words and I don’t care if the copy I am reading is damaged. In fact I prefer it.
I love to look at well designed books, but I’m scared to read them. I hate damaging immaculate books and carefully reading a beautiful book is a little bit stressful for me. I far prefer to have a well-read paperback that I can throw in my bag, read in the bath and otherwise abuse. Guilt free.
I am a bit odd in that I can never damage a book, but sometimes buy the roughest copy available as I know I’ll then be able to fully enjoy the words without worrying about opening the book too far and creasing the spine.
Am I the only one with this weird habit?
Would you prefer to wait for a beautiful book or just read the words now?