Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Globe & Mail Calls Unavailability of Giller Winner a “Scandal”

The Globe & Mail is looking askance at lack of available copies of The Sentimentalists, the book that won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize just last night:
Johanna Skibsrud has been a media darling for all of 12 hours, but as the Giller Prize-winning literary debutante took calls from across the country yesterday morning, she quickly developed a veteran politician’s answer to the first questions every reporter asked: Why can’t we read your book? When will we be able to? And is your publisher nuts or what?

The ultra-limited availability of The Sentimentalists, published more than a year ago in a luxe edition of a few hundred copies by Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Press, became the talk of the town as soon as the novel made the 2010 Giller Prize short list.

Now that the book has won, it is blooming into a scandal.
Scandal isn’t the word we’d use, however. While it’s unfortunate for Skibsrud that, for the moment, her book is largely unavailable in bookstores anywhere, one can rest assured that her tiny, hard-working Canadian publisher is currently cranking out copies as quickly as they can. And I don’t mean that figuratively.

Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Press is a publisher who prides themselves on producing beautiful limited-edition letterpress projects. Here, for example, January looks at the publisher’s beautiful first edition of Robert Bringhurst’s Selected Poems. Gaspereau is an outfit dedicated to reinstating “the importance of the book as a physical object, reuniting publishing and the book arts,” as they say on their web site. “Many of our covers are letterpress-printed ... and are printed on fine paper, in some cases even handmade. Most of our books are smyth-sewn & bound into card covers and are then enfolded in letterpress-printed jackets.” And such is the case with Skibsrud’s now much-in-demand book.

Long story short: if you do manage to get your hands on a first edition copy of Skibsrud’s Giller-winning The Sentimentalists, hang onto it. It’s worth something, for so many reasons.

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4 Comments:

Blogger red-handed said...

A million years ago, in a land far away, Gaspereau published a literary magazine (called The Gaspereau Review); of all the magazines I've had stories in, this is one that's kept its cachet, one that still holds up as a well-crafted object. I'm sure this book is of that same quality, inside and out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 6:08:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interesting thing about this commitment to the beautiful physical object is that it's driving readers to ebook sites like Kobo, which is, as far as I can tell, the only place the book can be bought right now. Unintended consequences.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 8:33:00 AM PST  
Blogger ReadHead said...

And indeed, I will be buying the ebook from Kobo. A strange turn of events.
Clélie Rich

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:50:00 AM PST  
Blogger erin said...

Clearly, the physical book is meant for someone who, not only is an avid reader, but a collector of books, as well. I use Kobo, but still buy hardcovers of books I love.

Erin L.

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 5:12:00 AM PST  

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