A Happy New Year to you all!
This month’s news from Handheld Press includes some refining, a small but interesting January sale, a rather lovely book cover, and a story to encourage persistence.
A story is a story is a story
When we set up Handheld Press, we wanted to publish books in four lists: Classics, Research, Translations and Modern. These labels signalled the differences between the stories being told. Classics were, well, classic; Research were based on research; Translations were stories from outside the Anglophone world; and Modern meant new stories. As time has trundled on, it’s become clear that one of these categories doesn’t make sense any more. The first two Translations we’re planning sit naturally in the Classic and Modern lists, so it seemed odd to segregate these stories into a category based on where they come from rather than what they are. So from henceforth there will be no Handheld Translations: there will be merely Classics, Research and Modern.
A Classics offer
So close to Christmas, January is a most difficult birthday month. To make choosing and shopping a little easier we are pleased to offer a reduced price, and free post & packing, on our first two Classics, Ernest Bramah’s What Might Have Been (normally £13, temporarily £10) and John Buchan’s The Runagates Club (normally £11, temporarily £8). Until midnight on 31st January you can order any quantity of these books, free of post & packing. Pay by cheque (payable to Handheld Press, and posted to 34 Avenue Heights, Basingstoke Road, Reading RG2 0EP, UK), or by Paypal (to email@example.com). Don’t forget to tell us which books you’re ordering and where you’d like them to be posted!
Have you seen our newest book cover?
On Hallowe’en (we know, its months away, but we’re very excited about this) we’ll be reprinting Sylvia Townsend Warner’s last short story collection, Kingdoms of Elfin, first published in 1977. These sixteen sly and enchanting stories of Elfindom show Warner’s consummate mastery of realist fantasy that recalls the success of her first novel, the witchcraft classic Lolly Willowes (1926).
Warner explores the morals, domestic practices, politics and passions of the Kingdoms of Elfin by following their affairs with mortals, and their daring flights across the North Sea. The Kingdoms of Brocéliande in France, Zuy in the Low Countries, Gedanken in Austria and Blokula in Lappland entertain Ambassadors, hunt with wolves and rear changelings for the courtiers’ amusement. The fairy ruling classes are charming and insolent, and all levels of fairy society are heartless, in human terms. But love and hate strike at fairies of all ranks, as do poverty, abandonment and the passions of the heart. Enter Elfindom with care.
This is the only Warner edition for which reprint giant Virago does not have the rights, and we are delighted to have snapped this up. Ingrid Hotz-Davies of the University of Tübingen will be writing the introduction. The cover is ‘Oberon and Titania’ by Arthur Rackham from the Mary Evans Library.
David beats Goliath
Lastly, without naming names, we would like to encourage our readers of the rewards of persistence and a dogged refusal to accept injustice, with an example from our small business. After quite a lot of our books had been bought by a very large and mighty purchaser, we sent them an invoice. After the statutory 30 days we noticed that the invoice had not been paid. We enquired, and were told that this purchaser only paid its bills on the last day of the month in which the invoice was dated. Our invoice had been made out on the day that we’d been given notice of its purchases from the previous month, that is, the first day of the month. Which meant that our invoice would not be paid for 60 days, which is a long time in business. There were only shrugs over the phone from their accounts department, which goes by in-house rules, not by logic. Three days of repeated emails and phone calls ensued, until the purchaser gave in, and we received a cheque from them only two weeks late. From now on we will date our invoices for the day before we are told how much to make them out for. And we will continue to fight the system when it’s clearly wrong.
Spread the news
For more lively news from Handheld Press, watch your inboxes around the middle of each month. Please forward this newsletter to friends and family, especially if you think they might be interested in the Classics offer.
Kate & David