LETTER OF THE MONTH

LETTER OF THE MONTH

Fri, 12/30/2011 - 07:34

Dear Vagabond*

It is very difficult for me to withhold my emotions regarding your latest book, A Guide to Ottoman Bulgaria. This is why I turn directly to the publisher as well as to Mrs Filipova, the editorial director.

A guide_to_Ottoman_Bulgaria.jpg

I would be interested in hearing your opinion. I think that some feedback (in this case from a reader of a book published by yourselves) makes sense, and it is this idea that prompted me to contact you.

In fact, I was prompted to write by the way your publishing house has treated both its own publication and its readers. This is particularly relevant to your book which, according to the Bulgarian publishing and book printing standards, can be termed "luxury" (judging by the quality of the cover, the full colour printing and the quality of the paper used). Owning to these characteristic and once I had bought the book I returned promptly to the bookshop. Why? As a person who is an amateur photographer, professionally trained, with many years of experience in book publishing, I was stunned because there were three blank pages in the book. My categorical assumption was that it was a matter of a "printing error," a misplaced section, and so on. Alas, my trip back to the bookshop confirmed the odd feeling I had experienced that this had been a matter of "design"?!?! I will not argue, it is indeed impressive. It attracts people's attention. Especially the attention of someone who's already bought the book. Believe me, however, that when someone buys a "luxury book" where photography prevails it is extremely unusual (and first and foremost disturbing) to come across blank pages...

This is not to mention the strange text in the Copyright section of the book... And what about the dictionary at the end of the book which you kindly billed "index"?!

I am absolutely ready to take the risk to be considered a "demanding" or a "capricious" reader, but I do think that one should exercise a lot of precision, attention and tact when dealing with book publishing and popularising culture and literature. Yes, the book you published is ultimately a product, but do not let your "luxuriously packed" book turn into run-of-the-mill. After all, the price it seeks to demand from your readers (who are also your clients) should be both earned and just!! I am convinced that many of your book's readers will be able to tell the differences between a "dictionary" and an "index," will know that a footnote stating just an author's name will not be sufficient... and first and foremost, having paid a significant sum of money for a book, they will not expect to see any blank pages in it!!

Yana Tsvetkashka

A definitely worried reader

 

*A verbatim translation

 

Issue 63-64

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