They don’t. We know they don’t. Except, well, back on 1 July Small Beer Press published Kelly Link’s new short story collection, Magic for Beginners. It’s a wonderful book, filled with great stories, and it’s been very well reviewed. There’s a new review over at The Believer, where reviewer Dennis Lim suggests the collection’s central question is ‘How are zombies like Canadians?’. While I’m not sure about that, I did notice that the header material for the review says the print run for the book was five thousand copies in hardcover. I also noticed, over at co-publisher Gavin Grant’s journal, that Magic for Beginners has gone back to press. And they’ve just sold paperback rights to Harcourt. Hmm. Five thousand copies in a month, a second printing and a deak for a paperback edition. It sounds like maybe short story collections can sell, if they’re good enough and interesting enough.
* This isn’t a reference to Gregory Feeley’s journal entry about selling collections to publishers. This is about whether they sell to readers, which is a different thing.