We are probably all aware that books by some authors — Clancy, King, Rowling, Martin, Patterson, etc. — sell in the millions of copies. However, there are authors, and publishers, who aim for a very different market. Hyperallergic.com has a delightful piece this week about writers and presses that limit their editions to a few hundred copies, and some even reduce their output to single figures.
The main section of the article deals with poet and artist Margaret Galey who published a book of 38 poems, all using only the letters from a sign “Hello, Please Remove Shoes”. The book had a run of just five copies.
The article’s author also contacted Happy Monks Press who limit their editions to 25 copies, of which 10 are for the author. Others really are one-offs:
“For Alternative Press, which was run by Ken and Ann Mikolowski for more 30 years (1972–2004), Robert Creeley handwrote a poem on each of the 500 letterpress postcards he was given and made no copies. This means his “Collected Poems” will always be incomplete. Creeley’s postcards were put in mailers, along with bumper stickers, bookmarks, and other goodies, and sent to subscribers. The content of every envelope was unique.
Having consciously self-published my own books in very limited editions (though one of mine did break the 1,000 copy barrier), I’m glad to see that writing just for the sake of writing (“borderline invisible”) can still be fashionable.