the state of things

 

The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson (10th Anniversary Edition) #2

by Douglas Lindsay - 08:43 on 14 November 2008

Today is the official release date for the new edition of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson. But you won’t find it in the shops... as they used to say on those K-Tel adverts for 100 Greatest Country & Western Songs of The 50’s or The Brighton & Hove Pan Pipe Band Play The Very Best of Metallica. However, in the case of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson it’s not because the book will only be available by mail order, it’s because it will be arriving marginally behind the curve.

The books are due to be delivered to the distributors today, so we weren't too far off.

There was no particular significance behind the date of 14th November. Once I established that George Clooney and Matt Damon were not going to be available for the marketing campaign, the date didn’t really matter. At some point a couple of months ago the previous edition started to run out sooner than expected. (This was due to a combination of a sudden increase in sales and the kind of business planning which has made Long Midnight Publishing the business behemoth it isn’t today.) I panicked and got everything in motion to get the reprint done as quickly as possible. 14th November was an entirely random date which seemed to provide a reasonable balance between optimism and the likelihood of fulfilment.

It would be nice to have it all up and running in the next couple of weeks, however even though the books will hopefully be in hand at some point today, it still takes a few weeks for orders to kick in, wholesalers to establish some sort of stock level requirement, for the retail chain to react.

This was a chance I took by changing the ISBN. If I had left it as it was, then the orders would have been coming in for the previous edition and the matter of getting the new book out would have been much smoother. However, I felt that the changes were significant enough that this edition should be differentiated from the previous one, and will just have to accept that, as a result, it will be slower getting going.

On the one hand, it will hopefully be up to speed in time for Christmas. On the other, no one has any money anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

With six weeks to go, it shouldn’t be a problem, but we’re coming off the recent experience of Amazon taking well over a month to get the ordering for Lost in Juarez straightened out, while they kept sending customers apocalyptic e-mails along the lines of, We’re sorry, but this book is not yet available. Expected delivery date: A Long Time In The Future. Very Possibly After You’re Dead.

In the New Year, Long Midnight Publishing will be preparing its hostile takeover bid for Amazon.co.uk to ensure that such failings do not re-occur.


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