Bring Up the Bodies
Posted on 09 May 2013, 1:49
A new book came out yesterday… except, hang on, it isn’t new.
Bring Up the Bodies is the sequel to Hilary Mantel’s brilliant Wolf Hall. It was published a year ago in hardback, and since then there have been book reviews (last May), Mantel’s winning of the Man Booker prize (last October) and of course 12 full months.
And now, finally, publisher Fourth Estate has released the paperback edition. I snapped it today in Foyles bookshop next to the hardback (pic above).
I understand why publishers produce hardback editions first – they want to maximise profits when their star books are in the spotlight and calculate their paperback print-runs intelligently. The hardback of Bring Up the Bodies is currently retailing at £20, twice the price of the paperback (£9.99).
But making readers wait a full year before releasing such a culturally significant and widely discussed book just seems greedy to me. And it surely can’t be great for the book either, since those of us who would like to talk about it but aren’t on the freebie review copy lists of Fourth Estate will only be getting our teeth into it this week.
I’d like to talk about what’s inside Bring Up the Bodies, since I found Wolf Hall such a powerful and almost unmediated doorway into past lives. But I’m wondering, why bother, a year later?