Just yesterday I was reading about Giller Nominee book sales and came across a quote about how the least known of the books was The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud. This is primarily because there are a lack of copies to be sold. The Globe and Mail reported that only 800 copies were printed for the first run, and a second run will be equally as small even though it has won this year's $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, honoring the best Canadian novel or short story collection in English.
According to the Globe and Mail: "The Sentimentalists was hand-printed more than a year ago by the tiny publisher in Kentville, N.S., in an edition of 800 copies, most of which had disappeared by the time the three Giller judges announced their short lists. Gaspereau publisher Andrew Steeves subsequently raised eyebrows by refusing a commercial publisher’s offer to produce a second edition for wide distribution. “If you are going to buy a copy of that book in Canada, it's damn well coming out of my shop,” he told The Globe and Mail."
The Giller Long List included:
- David Bergen, The Matter with Morris (HarperCollins Canada)
- Douglas Coupland, Player One (House of Anansi Press)
- Michael Helm, Cities of Refuge (McClelland & Stewart)
- Alexander MacLeod, Light Lifting (Biblioasis)
- Avner Mandelman, The Debba (Other Press)
- Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists (The Dial Press)
- Sarah Selecky, This Cake Is for the Party (Thomas Allen Publishers)
- Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists (Gaspereau Press)
- Cordelia Strube, Lemon (Coach House Books)
- Joan Thomas, Curiosity (McClelland & Stewart)
- Jane Urquhart, Sanctuary Line (McClelland & Stewart)
- Dianne Warren, Cool Water (HarperCollins Canada)
- Kathleen Winter, Annabel (House of Anansi Press)
Nowhere on the list, however, was Emma Donoghue's Room, short listed for the Man-Booker prize and up for Canada's Governor-General’s Literary Award. A representative with HarperCollins Canada, publishers of Room, bemoaning Room's exclusion from the list, stated that they've only sold 30,000 copies of that title. (I'm guessing that statement applies only to Canadian sales).
What does this mean for collectors? Well, you have an award winning book and an extremely low print run. Possibly several extremely low print runs:
- Alibris is listing four copies:
- two for $310 (U.S.)
- two for $551 (U.S.).
- Amazon.ca has two copies listed:
- one for CDN $257
- one for CDN $22 (although I'm sure this copy will disappear quickly at that price).
- Amazon.com has four copies for sale
- three in the range of $180 (U.S.)
- one for $250 (U.S.)
- AbeBooks doesn't have any copies listed, yet.
Labels: Emma Donoghue, Giller Award, Room, Skibsrud, The Sentamentalist