One of the highlights of the International Congress on Medieval Studies, better known as Kzoo, is the book exhibit. The book exhibit lived up to its usual reputation. Maybe it was my imagination or the time of day I was there, but it seemed a little thin. I went twice on Friday and then to the 5-6 pm last hour of exhibit on Saturday and at no time was it so busy that it was hard to walk through. That is unusual. The happy hour goers with their plastic cups of wine basically filled the courtyards and one hallway but didn’t really spill over into the book exhibit. Most of the usual exhibitors were there, but it seemed like they brought less (though that could be because I couldn’t get there before Friday). It seemed like the used book sellers had more space, but that could be my imagination. I think there were a few missing but they must be minor publishers because I can’t think of any of the major publishers being missing.
Talked to an editor and a publisher so here is some book news.
Scott DeGregorio is editing a Cambridge Companion to Bede. It will have chapters by what looked like all of the editors of Bede’s works. Publication is being held up by one Englishman who also did not show up for his session this year; he knows who he is… Scott expects that it will be out in 2010-2011. Like all Cambridge companions, it will be aimed at undergraduates and presumably intended to be a textbook.
There were fliers out and about for advance orders for George Hardin Brown’s Companion to Bede, that according to its flier will be out in August 2009. Seems confusing having two such similar named books come out within a year of each other. This monograph, however, is not primarily aimed at undergrads.
I also talked to the rep from Four Courts Press – who had several interesting books displayed if you are interested in Viking era Ireland – and I asked him about the forthcoming collected study on Adomnan entitled Adomnan of Iona: theologian, lawmaker, peacemaker. It is listed at 288 pages for $70 (hardback). It was supposed to have been out this past winter. This is a publication of conference on Adomnan celebrating the 1300th anniversary of his death in 2004. According to their catalog it is supposed to be out this winter. However, they told me they don’t have the text from Jonathan Wooding (the editor) yet, which means that it will push publication back to at least late 2010 or 2011. The publisher told me I was about the 9th person to ask him about it today so anticipation is fairly high.
The one bit of good news is that there were plenty of newly published books on hand and plenty of mockups for forthcoming books. I don’t think there is much of a slowdown in publishing, at least not evidenced by the book exhibit. When I said above that they brought less, I meant fewer copies and fewer older books. One publisher would only take orders because apparently they only brought one copy of each book. I do have to say though that the prices were not great this year. Most of them could be bought on Amazon for the same price or less. That is what I told one publisher who wouldn’t sell me her last copy of a book, and sure enough I just checked and its actually cheaper on Amazon.