Friday, July 27, 2007

The Book Depository and ReadySteadyBook

Did you read Mark Thwaite's comment on Wednesday's blog about The Boy Who Loved Books? If you didn't, he wrote -

"I'm not a fan of Sutherland but, still, I'm disappointed that this isn't wholly about the "books he read from early childhood to his late teens." Surely, we don't need another misery memoir? And, surely, a book by a literary critic about the books that shaped him as a young man would appeal much more to what you would gather was Sutherland's target audience."

Clicking on Mark's name above his comment, I was taken to The Book Depository where, on the About Us page, I learned that the business was founded in 2004 "with the aim of making "All books available to All" through pioneering supply chain initiatives, republishing and digitizing of content. It is a continuing project, still in its infancy and one of the most ambitious ventures in the Book Industry."

"Currently The Book Depository is able to ship 1.3 million unique titles at keen prices from our fulfillment centre in Gloucester, United Kingdom (within 48 hours) and this figure grows and grows everyday. Apart from publishers, distributors and wholesalers we even list and supply books from other retailers! Amazingly we are also able to arrange the reprint of over 300,000 out of print titles which again we can dispatch from Gloucester within 48 hours."

Further down the page, I read – "Our Managing Director and Founder, Andrew Crawford was part of the start up team at Bookpages which in its time was the fastest growing online bookstore in Europe. When Amazon purchased Bookpages in 1998, he subsequently moved and helped to start up Amazon in Europe. Andrew looked at different ways of achieving his personal ambition of making as many books available as possible - and the result is The Book Depository!"

Mark Thwaite [see photo] is TBD's Managing Editor. A librarian by profession, he spent five years with Amazon UK before founding "the acclaimed literary website His writing has appeared in many journals including the TLS, Context and PN Review. If you have any interesting book-related news and/or you are a publisher wanting to suggest books for review, please email"

Later I discovered that Mark has an online literary journal at ReadySteadyBook.

Both these sites are packed with interesting articles and interviews I haven't had time to explore fully yet.

Looking for a photo of Mark, I came across an interview with him at
Simon Owens' Bloggasm
. Here's an extract -

"Simon Owens: You’ve said in a previous interview that you’re falling away from modern literary fiction. What is it about the genre that turns you off?

Mark Thwaite: Its lack of perspicacity, skill, wisdom, depth, relevance and artistry. I keep my eyes peeled for good, modern fiction (I’m always desperate to read a new, relevant voice), but, sad to say, there is very little new good stuff out there. Certainly, few British writers are up to much (there are some, of course: Tom McCarthy has started well; Gabriel Josipovici is a vital, ongoing presence; Dai Vaughan is vastly under-read), but mediocrity rules. I do see some fine modern works in translation, however. But British writers? Who are our most vaunted? Monica Ali and the war-apologist Ian McEwan? Please …"

If you're curious about the breed of Mark Thwaite's puppy - I thought she might be a very young husky - her name is Lola and she's a German Spitz (Mittel).


At 27 July, 2007, Anonymous Mark Thwaite said...

Hi Anne,

Thanks so much for such a thorough post. Very good of you to have taken the time.

Warmest regards, thanks again,


At 27 July, 2007, Blogger Richard Havers said...

Anne, I've bought about a dozen books from the Book Depository and it's always been a really good experience. Several of the books were hard to find from elsewhere. I think I may have even bought one of my own books from them because it was cheaper than getting it from the publisher!

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