‘How was the book fair?’ I asked Camp after he’d taken his pea coat off and sat down.

            ‘Good fun. So many excited and hopeful young writers and plenty of older book junkies like myself getting together at the end of the day for a pint or two.  Did you know that on average over 1000 books are published in Canada every month? Add to those the self-published titles and you can triple that number.’

            ‘That could be depressing for any writer struggling to get a book together. You and I know what it takes. Years of lonely toil, self-doubts, re-writes, and rejections.’ 

            ‘It’s a labour of love my friend. A compulsion and a passion. Some people just have to write every day, mostly for themselves as their main audience.’ 

            ‘Do any of those self-published books sell? Is there any money in writing?’

            ‘Let me give some sobering statistics that I just happen to have at my fingertips, thanks to some lectures at the fair. First of all, over 30% of all e-books are self-published and worldwide about 300 million self-published books are sold yearly which translates into one and a quarter billion dollars. Amazon alone pays out $ 250 million in royalties to self-published authors each year.’

            ‘Wow, I had no idea. Considering I sold about a couple of hundred of my own two books and gave just as many away. But then again, I didn’t write them for the money. I would surely be in the poor house.’

            ‘Let’s face it, there are only about 300 writers today who actually make a living at their craft. Most have either other jobs as teachers, lecturers or are retired and have all the time and money they need.’

            ‘As yours truly is. I guess you could say that I’m in that lucky position where nobody waits for my next novel or book and neither Netflix nor Disney are knocking at the door for scripts or plays. What is the most popular genre in books?’

‘Romance,’ Camp said at once. No contest. Romance novels are the most profitable fiction book genre and then it’s religious and inspirational books which are the most popular non-fiction sellers, whilst thrillers are the most popular audiobooks. And let’s not forget Children’s books which are surely best sellers as a category in any book store, certainly at Coast Books.’    

‘Are book publishers profitable businesses these days?’

‘Good question. Let me quote you from Sir Stanley Unwin: The first duty of any publisher to their authors is to remain solvent and the whole process of publication is vastly more complicated than it was even a generation ago. He said that in 1926. It’s a complicated and competitive business.’

‘I guess I’d make more money distilling moonshine than self-publishing a novel,’ I said, downing my beer.’

‘I’m afraid you’re right. In publishing the successes subsidise the losers and book publishing is an art, not a science.’

‘Well, I’ll drink to that.’ Just in time Vicky appeared with our refills.

‘Do you read books Vicky?’ I had to ask.

She looked at me as if I’d said something inappropriate. ‘Books? Not really. I haven’t read a book since I was a teenager. My mom reads though. She gets them from the library. Romance stuff mostly. She says it gives her mind a holiday.’

1 thought on “Books

  1. Hey guys, I’ve been writing about a hundred short essays a year since April 2018 for myself, and share them with others for fun. Organizing a bunch of them into books is also fun and gratifies my ego but not my wallet. An occasional commissioned book review provides beer money for this poor but “emerged” author, now in his 10th decade ha ha.


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