One of the best books of the last decade is in danger of going out of print, which, aside from being a crying shame in its own right, would make it harder for its author, Helen DeWitt, to get another book into the marketplace. But it doesn’t have to happen. As her latest post says:
Suppose one reader in each state and province persuades a non-bookselling outlet to stock 5 copies of The Last Samurai. Maybe you go to the same café every day, maybe you work in one; maybe you have a yarn shop, or a hardware store, or a motel; maybe you’re a vet or a dentist or a hairdresser with a waiting room and captive audience; maybe you’re an academic with helpful students; maybe you know of a Kurosawa festival, or a screening of Seven Samurai; or maybe you fall in none of these categories but you have persuadable friends or family who do. A couple of hundred or so books leave the warehouse. Paperpools publishes the details of the locations; we set up a Google Map; more copies are out in the world.
That may not sound like much. In the great scheme of Nelsen Bookscan (if you don’t know, you don’t want to) it isn’t much. But it does, obviously, represent a change of direction from steadily decreasing sales it puts the book in places where it can be recommended by people who like it; it would be a big help.
So if you’d like to help out an author who’s had more than her share of bad luck and could use a break, as well as make it more likely that we’ll all get a chance to read more of her work, give it a try; she says “The people to call are Customer Services, 1-800-242-7737.” (And if you know of a good agent, she could use one.)