Monday, July 18, 2011

Moving books; Austen makes belated big bucks

Here's a cute design that a French moving company uses to designate boxes of books (courtesy
Speaking of book packing, I have always been astounded by the expertise and expense that go into packing each shipment of books I've ordered from Daedalus. Only an act of God, as the insurance people say, could prevent these items from being damaged in transit!
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not 
pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
The manuscript of Jane Austen's unfinished novel The Watsons was auctioned by Sotheby's last week. The Bodleian Libraries of Oxford picked it up for a tad more than £990,000 (US$1.6 million). Not bad for a spinster of modest means! Can one even fathom the millions that have been made from the products of her brain? If you're looking to fill in a few gaps, we currently have a broad collection of Austen's works, from the sublime (The Annotated Persuasion) to the spurious (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters).

Speaking of moving books, British booksellers in Lichfield, Staffordshire, have outfitted a houseboat into a "Book Barge" that meanders down a canal bringing cheer to all. According to the owners,
the bookshop comprises a mix of new and secondhand fiction that tries to reflect the very best of contemporary, classic and children’s literature. Books have been carefully selected to offer a quality alternative to high street bestseller lists including, among others, specialist sections exploring topical issues, titular oddities and travel ephemera. Although a bookseller should never admit to judging works on their cover, we are also rather proud purveyors of some dazzling dustjackets and retro paperbacks.
More power to them!


  1. In the Washington Post over the weekend they had a great article called "5 Myths about Jane Austen" a must read for any Austen fan.

  2. I can't get past the Book Barge!! What a wonderful idea. I doubt, however, that it gets the kids running like ice cream does...

  3. Thanks A ... I'll go look. I'll bet one of them was that she never had a romantic relationship.

  4. Re the issue of how much $ JA made from her books, I found this paragraph on How much did she earn in her lifetime?

    Jane Austen became a minor celebrity in her time. Even the Prince Regent complimented her work . She famously said "a large income, is the best recipe for happiness I have ever heard of'. But sadly for Jane, she achieved only moderate financial success.

    The £10,000 per annum income that the fictional Mr Darcy received was a pipedream to her. Despite her success, when Austen died in 1817, her total assets amounted to less than £800 (approx £41,800 today). Her will left most of this to her sister Cassandra who had nursed her through her illness.

    Since her death, Jane Austen's works have become hugely popular and first editions of her novels are very valuable. In 2003, a first edition of 'Pride and Prejudice' sold for £40,000. Various adaptations of her works have been highly successful with the latest film of Pride and Prejudice making £63.2m worldwide.

  5. I hope you like your new house! And haha that is totally the kind of thing id say if I Moved:)

  6. he Watsons was auctioned by Sotheby's last week. The Bodleian Libraries of Oxford picked it up for a tad more than £990,000 (US$1.6 million). Not bad for a spinster of modest means! WA Removals