One of the funny things about writing this blog is that I have started to get some free books. This is strange since I don't review books. I read a lot, but I generally only read the stuff I like. I don't have time to read things people send me. I also find this interesting because as President of Bowker - the publisher of books in print remember - I may have received three books in seven years. Two of those were sent by Jane Friedman. So, as a blogger operating in no official capacity I get some books, but as head of house I don't. Curious.
In the past twelve months I have received four books; not a lot thankfully. I haven't read any of them. Two management books (one from Wiley so I may end up reading it), one on being more green and one from a trade publisher. The green title had me slightly concerned since the title was so precise: "78 ways to change the planet" or something. Surely if they concentrated a little more they might have reached 100. No doubt my experience with review copies speaks both to the desperation of smaller publishers to get their titles seen and to the general indiscriminate nature of the process: Send them out in the hope that someone will review them.
I am not sure how much other heads of house share their books with one another. Do they call each other up and ask for a particular book I wonder. Would they be embarassed? If I were publishing something more compact that an 8 volume directory I would have routinely sent my titles to other publishers. I would be proud of them and I would want my peers to enjoy them as I did. (I did consider sending the CD version to publishers but discarded the idea just as quick. I didn't want to visit their office and find it under a wine glass).
About 18mths ago, I realized that my unread pile extended to 60+ books, but the back log is winding down now and so sometime in the next six months I might actually be reading books that have some currency. (At the moment I am reading a biography of Sir Christopher Wren that was published in 2001). Perhaps then I might comment a little.