Last night there was a knocking at the door after sunset, so naturally I assumed it was a serial killer. I opened the door with the chain still on and discovered it wasn’t a serial killer, it was the UPS man. (At least, I assume he wasn’t a serial killer. I suppose he could be both a killer and a delivery man, and using a UPS outfit as a disguise would be a brilliant way to get into people’s houses. You could even hide your axe in the box you’re delivering. Okay, I have clearly thought too much about this.)
After he’d gone and I’d secured the deadbolt, I opened the box to discover this:
It’s the galleys for Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn’t Go Away! A galley is a bound edition of an uncorrected proof of the book. That means that not all the typographical or formatting errors have been fixed as they will be in the final edition. The galleys are published with the actual cover on the front and a promotional pitch on the back that features a summary, favorable blurbs, author information, and contact information for the publicity department of the publisher. They’re sent to magazines, libraries, and booksellers in advance of the publication date to stir up publicity and give reviewers enough lead time to review the book. Right now is the time when most magazines are planning their February/March editions, so sending them a galley now allows them to include it in the edition of the magazine that will be out when the book is released.
Now, I want to preface this next bit by saying that I’m a supporter of digital books. I love that they’re lightweight, easily searchable, annotatable, and less clunky than a big, heavy box of books that make your knees hurt when you carry them up the stairs during your interstate move. I’m not upset that printed books will most likely become less common as more and more people adopt the digital format (assuming local bookstores don’t shut down because of it and that the author’s royalty remains a fair percentage). All that said, I really, really, really, loved opening the box and catching the distinct scent of books inside. When I picked up a galley, I could smell the freshly cut paper and ink. I even started sniffing the spine, I was so infatuated with the sweet publisher’s perfume. And when I held the book in my hands, I loved sliding my fingers across the glossy coating of the cover. It’s a real
live dead book! So, yes, I still think digital books are the wave of the future and I’m not upset about it, but even a tech girl like me is not immune to the seduction of a printed book, particularly when it’s my own.