Brian Aldiss is privately publishing his new novel, Walcot. We don’t know, it seems, whether this is a matter of chance or of necessity, but it’s interesting; I don’t recall any really major literary figure since Lawrence going this route.
The book looks gorgeous. With 100 copies at £100 and 1000 copies at £20, he’s looking at a gross of £30K. That’s real money, but then Aldiss is the real deal, with an entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction that spans six columns and a mainstream following that regards his science fiction as a curious hobby of an otherwise-important contemporary writer.
Of course, this is facilitated by new media. First, it’s much easier to produce a book today than it was when you cast pages in lead. Second, you can promote and sell the book directly to readers on your Web page, saving lots of trouble and expense. (TLS reports that the marketing budget runs to ten copies hors commerce. Ten!)
Privately printed: the latest new medium.