I received a note earlier, from a Simon Petherick of Beautiful Books, London.

It’s refreshing to receive such an email, and encouragement to be even more active.

Dear Mr Attallah,

We’ve never met, but like you, I run an independent publishing company in Soho. Unlike you, mine’s only been going five years. I just thought I’d drop a line and congratulate you on your elegantly scripted critiques of both the Google Book Settlement and the role of literary agents, which I’ve just read on your blog. I agree with you on both counts. I opted out of the absurdly named “settlement” and I do think that too many literary agents have effectively enslaved themselves to an American corporate model of publishing which says cash is king. The great Allen Lane, if you read Jeremy Lewis’s excellent biography of him, used to conduct Penguin’s commissioning meetings with his two brothers in a Soho wine bar over copious bottles of Rioja every Friday, and for years ran his distribution from an old church crypt that would have failed every single modern corporate requirement for health and safety and efficiency. What a different organisation Penguin is now, and what a different business publishing has become. Long may your spirit and your business continue to flourish!

With best wishes,

Simon Petherick

Beautiful Books


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