Help! They’re shredding my book!
This is the history of how my debut novel Toiletten almost, but not quite, got shredded.
- March 26, 2006 – Annemieke calls me and tells me a letter from my publisher arrived. It says that Querido is about to shred the remaining 1615 copies of my debut novel. This doesn’t really register with me until she e-mails the contents of the letter the next day. At that point I decide I should do something – it just feels wrong to let those books be destroyed.
- March 29, 2006 – After discovering that Querido is willing to sell me the books at cost price, I post a blog entry called They’re Destroying My Novel!. It invites people to order books from me, so I don’t go broke buying them back, and to come up with fun things to do with the rest. Things speed up from here on.
- March 31, 2006 – Hans Nijenhuis of nrc.next hears about my story, asks me to do some research and write an article for his paper. A couple of fun facts pop up. For example, more than a million books are shredded on a yearly basis, in The Netherlands alone, and they’re all turned into toilet paper. Today the column (now online, in Dutch) appears, urging many readers to e-mail me enthusiastically.
- April 3, 2006 – In a matter of days, I sell almost 500 books. Then, Querido tells me they’ve managed to sell 750 copies to a budget bookstore called De Slegte. Also, they’ve decided to forget about this cost price thing – they’re giving me 865 copies of Toiletten for free. The bottom line is the evil book-eating shredding-machines have been defeated. At least, for now.
- Current day – There’s still a stack of small pink books left, so if you want one, let me know. I sell them for € 5, including shipping costs.