You may wonder if I haven’t got better things to do than write this post, but I have a bugbear to get off my chest.
In these days of trouble, when so many people are being laid off and when the economy looks set to tank even further, we all have to make financial choices carefully. I’m fortunate in being able to find money to support my lifelong reading habit, which means that I often buy poetry collections and pamphlets. During Lockdown, that’s resulted in me making far more online purchases than before. I miss trips to decent bookshops, although so many don’t actually stock the ‘small-press’ output which I increasingly prefer to read, rather than that of the imprints owned by Random House or the largest independents.
But I find it perplexing when ordering from smaller publishers that a significant percentage of them dispatch what I’ve ordered without any message of any kind; no compliment slip, not even a post-it note, to say thanks for the purchase. Surely most people are far more likely to make another purchase if they’re made to feel that their custom is valued? Perhaps you think I’m sounding old-fashioned and petty, but I find it irksome when no note is attached. That doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t order from those presses again, but it might make me might think twice.
So three cheers, then, for those publishers who do have the courtesy and kindness to include a note: among others, HappenStance, Poetry Salzburg and, as you can see below, Calder Valley take the time to do so and I really appreciate it, as it conveys warmth and friendliness. (Those three publishers’ books and pamphlets are wonderful, by the way, and I heartily recommend them.) To those outfits who don’t bother to say thanks, you’re missing a trick.