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Jul 6 / Michael

Headline: Gentlemen continues to drive the economy!

Amazon is about to run out of my book again, except that they aren’t (they never do). Still, they have ”Only 3 left in stock–order soon (more on the way).” This must be the 15th time that’s happened. The countdown starts at “Only 5 left,” and they always get more before they run out, though several times it has been down to “Only 1 left.” I don’t know how many they order at a time—maybe 20? Or 6?—so I really don’t know WHAT IT ALL MEANS, but I always enjoy seeing that red-lettered warning. It’s a red-letter day, and a nice little benchmark, like when you’re tallying up by five and get to put the cross through.

And, of course, it means that people are still buying my book. And in hardcover! (The paperback comes out in November. They usually come out about a year after the HC, but Gentlemen, like some grim grey battleship in wartime, has been given another sixth months of iron-sided glory.)

There’s also something satisfying about the thought of another empty box in the Amazon warehouse. You know, maybe they take the last three books out and put them on the shelf, then toss the cardboard Scholastic box in one of those wheeled recycling bins, along with the ones for Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, et al. And for a minute or two, the box marked “Gentlemen” is on the top of the heap. (I picture its tawny side catching the flickering florescent light in a particularly poetic way…) Until it gets pile-driven by like 48 “Deathly Hallows” boxes and 53 “Catching Fires.”

It may be a fleeting moment, but when it comes to boxes like those, I can honestly say it’s an honor to be in the trash with them.

7 Comments

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  1. Eric Luper / Jul 6 2010

    Holy cow! Amazon must be running out of books. They only have 2, 1 and 2 copies of my books respectively! 🙂

  2. Michael / Jul 6 2010

    They just can’t keep up with the mass public hysteria that our books have incited. I just hope they figure it out before our movies, action figures, and lunchboxes are released…

  3. Elizabeth / Jul 6 2010

    I don’t know if it’s sad that you two check your Amazon pages daily. Or if it’s particularly tear jerking with the way you describe the boxes.

  4. Lauren Lipton / Jul 6 2010

    OK, I hate to say it, but I had to learn this the hard way myself…all authors do at some point…

    [MN: PARAGRAPH READ AND CENSORED BECAUSE IT IS TOO HORRIBLE AND OTHER AUTHORS MUST BE SPARED THE GRIM REALITY! ALSO, THOUGH THESE MAY JUST BE RUMORS I’M SPREADING, IT CONTAINED NUMEROUS LURID PICTURES AND CALLS FOR GLOBAL ANARCHY.]

    I know, I know, it’s awful. Also, there is no Santa Claus. On the bright side, all five copies of my books appear to be currently in stock, so your situation could be worse.

  5. Michael / Jul 6 2010

    Elizabeth: Oh, no, It’s sad, all right. It’s also sort of pointless, because Amazon accounts for a small, indefinite percentage of sales for a book like mine (YA, reluctant readers, etc.). But Amazon and B&N are the only public pages for me to check, and so, yep, daily. At least.

    As for the boxes, that would only be sad if they were anthropomorphic—or at least had little faces, with sad little eyes that were like, “Why are you throwing us away? Didn’t we do a good job?”

    Lauren: Aaaaaaah! I think they order more, though, because my sales rank makes big jumps regularly—from the truly depressing to the merely dispiriting and sometimes to the mildly hopeful. Those jumps must be the result of sales, no? But the warning doesn’t appear. And when it does appear, each number ticking down coincides with a similar jump. (Please note the depths of my mania/extent of my rationalizations…)

  6. Katie / Jul 7 2010

    Gentlemen is obviously the shit, as it would have long been out in paperback otherwise. Those publishing houses sure know how to make the $$$.

  7. Michael / Jul 7 2010

    Thanks Katie! That’s like new favorite quote: “Gentlemen is obviously the shit.”—Katie

    Wish I could put that on the cover…

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