Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I’ve blogged a bit about where folk buy their books, a subject close to most writers’ hearts, and, increasingly, to their pockets. In the past I’ve stepped out of Oxfam, smug in my ability to spot barely-tarnished literary classics for £1.99; market stalls always have a bargain or two; I’ve even (permission to impart violent gestures my way granted) purchased a novel from that supermarket. I pop into the last High Street chain occasionally, browse Amazon, and for maximum feel-good points I use my local indie. Book buying patterns are shifting hugely, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to consider the impact I have, as a consumer, on the literary world.

Some of the aforementioned outlets have done very well during the recession, others, like most of us, have had a torrid time of it. My publisher especially have weathered their share of turbulence – if you followed their plight last year, you’ll remember the JustOneBook campaign that turned their fortunes around.

And now, as the tough times (hopefully) play themselves out, Salt are expanding, embracing the new challenges publishing faces, yet are still struggling through this rocky period. Of course I have a vested interest here: if Salt go under, my book doesn’t see the light of day. But it’s about something more than that. The smaller, independent publishers tend to solicit work based on quality rather than immediate commercial value. Their critical faculties are attuned to literary splendour, bringing you, the reader, wonderful, avant garde voices – beautifully written books that the chains and supermarkets wouldn’t touch. Once they are gone, so has your choice.

So I ask you to have a look at their wonderful website, adorned with stunning covers, that encase some of the finest contemporary writing you can find. I can only speak for the books I’ve read, but if you want brilliant short stories, you could do worse than start here, or here, or here. And for some remarkable, prize-winning poetry I suggest this.

Buying just one book, from Salt’s site or one of their titles on Amazon, will go a long way to ensuring their continued success.


Paul said...

I participated in the Just One Book program, and I intend to buy the book by that Vowler fellow just as soon as it is available to the unwashed masses.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Ha, Paul. You're too kind.