The Literary World of San Francisco — as I’ve been reporting — is still no.2 on the Amazon bestseller list for travel books about San Francisco as I check the stats today, but yesterday for about 4 hours muscled it’s way to the Top Spot.
Can’t beat that.
Although I popped champagne to celebrate — why not? — the statistic comes at an academic remove from the real world. It’s not as if I have a no.1 bestseller and therefore I’m going to be raking in piles of loot. All the copies circulating come from the two print runs of several thousand copies, out-of-print now for over twenty years. And it’s still selling. I take it that the copies offered as “new” just look new, and the couple of copies offered at one cent each (plus postage, of course) are ex-library or otherwise beat-to-crap.
And I may have helped nudge the book up to first place, to be completely open about the situation. I was looking at the Amazon page and clicked on the one copy listed under Collectible, where I was intrigued to find that this copy was offered by L.W. Currey — and that it was once owned by the late John D. Squires, a pal of mine. Inscribed, of course. In excellent condition, because JDS was an arch-bookman. And the price was only $25.
Just the other day Brian Leno was telling me that Lit World was one of my books he doesn’t have, but he’d want a really nice copy. Aha. Let’s get this copy into a good home.
I told Brian, Brian popped in the order, and clearing out the one copy from the Collectible pile helped nudge the title to no.1 on the list.
Apparently Currey got the JDS library to disperse — hundreds of great titles. I’m pretty sure John had every one of my books, all inscribed, if you’re in the market. I see that the edition of Dashiell Hammett Tour with gray wrappers is up for $45, the reprint in red wrappers offered for $25. JDS faithfully collected his pals (in addition to M.P. Shiel, Machen, Lovecraft, etc. & etc.) and so had complete sets of David Drake, Karl Edward Wagner, and more.