The Digital Divide: Barcodes, Royalties and the Perennial Wonders of Deep Space Exploration
It is official.
I am now a publisher.
Well, I have been previously (sort of) but this time I own the unique numeric commercial book identifiers that will allow me to plough my own furrow.
They are mine.
And all the botheration that comes with them.
I felt it was the right thing to do.
The story is a simple one.
Years ago, in a separate but still parallel life, I published an academic book on a short cycle of British films from the 1950s and 1960s. The book was a re-calibration of my doctoral thesis.
The British New Wave has floated through space ever since like some kind of unmanned craft.
It occasionally makes contact with sentient lifeforms, crash-landing now and again on a university reading list.
Or orbiting on the every edges of some form of intellectual discourse.
But it spends most of its time merrily moving closer and closer towards the extreme outer edges of space.
On its way somewhere but never getting anywhere significant.
It never quite resulted in that dream book tour of the US that I imagined.
Nonetheless it is out there in deep space and will always be.
A permanent reminder of something.
Until very recently.
A strange transmission was beamed back from the furthest reaches of the darkness.
My bank wrote to tell me that a royalty payment had been received from the book’s publishers.
Naturally, after years of radio silence, I was thrilled to hear such a message.
However, I was more thrilled by the happenstantial nature of the payment itself.
The amount I received was very much almost exactly identical to the amount I needed to purchase a swathe of unique numeric commercial book identifiers.
Within ten pounds sterling.
It seemed too good a thing not to use the monies received from one book as seed money for my next set of books.
I like to think that even as I type, The British New Wave has gone back into deep space exploration again.
On a new course bound for anywhere.
Set to make contact once again at some random point in the future intersection of space and time.
But not before I have gotten used to the radio silence.