Word is in from matociquala (author Elizabeth Bear) that a clerical error, made when her most recent novel Ink and Steel was put into one major distribution system, may be the reason why it isn’t showing up in a lot of bookstores, nor in their computers when booksellers search for it by her name or the title.
Which is threatening to kill the series, because unsurprisingly, when your book isn’t there, and isn’t easily findable in the system, your sales figures don’t look too good.
First of all — god, that’s scary. Somebody types something in wrong, and there goes your book. The situation may be salvageable, but right now, things aren’t going well.
So the other purpose of this post (besides saying what is wrong with our industry?) is to make a quick rec for the book. I’ve been too busy to keep up with my website recommendations, and I’m slated to write a proper review of I&S and its second half Hell and Earth in a little while, but a decent number of people reading this journal would probably be interested in her novel. How do I know this? Because this is, as she said in her comment on my book, the summer of the
Volcano Asteroid Impact Alarmingly Well-Researched Elizabethan Faerie Novel. Ink and Steel takes place three years after Midnight Never Come, with a different selection of historical figures (we only overlap in a few small places), but it, too, has faeries and espionage in the streets of London. And if you’re reluctant to pick it up knowing it’s only the first half of a very large novel, Hell and Earth is coming out next month, so you don’t have long to wait.
If that appeals, then, go now — not later; there may not be a later — to your bookstore and check for it on the shelves. If it isn’t there, ask for them to order it. And if they can’t find it in their system, give them the ISBN (978-0451462091), since that’s the only way to get around the error. (Also think about looking for the earlier books in the series — earlier in terms of publication date, that is. Blood and Iron and Whiskey and Water are set in the modern period, and you may be able to find them in trade paper still, or mass-market paperback where B&I is concerned. I recommended that one here.)
You may have no trouble at all; it may be on the shelves. But if not, please consider putting in the extra effort. It’s a good book, very full of plot and characterization and faerie lore, and I’d hate to see it killed by a clerical error.