Bloomsbury Reader

I was beside myself with excitement to discover Bloomsbury Reader, a new initiative of Bloomsbury Publishing to resurrect some fantastic authors in print on demand & e-book editions. Simon at Stuck in a Book posted about this last week & I couldn’t wait to whiz through their list here. I’d read some months ago about Bloomsbury reprinting Monica Dickens who has enjoyed a little mini revival with Persephone reprinting Mariana & The Winds of Heaven in recent years. Then, when I saw the list & realised that I could download my choices onto my e-reader instantly, I was even more excited.

There are a few downsides to the Bloomsbury Reader website. There’s no rhyme or reason to the listing. It’s not alphabetical or any other order I can make out. There’s no way to limit your search just to e-books so the same titles pop up twice in both formats but not together. There’s no subject listing, not even fiction & non-fiction. You can search by author but you need to know who’s there to do a usable search. There are no blurbs – well, there were no blurbs on any of the titles I looked at. With 57 pages to go through, it’s a bit frustrating.

However, all is not lost. I pasted the ISBN into the search engine at The Book Depository & there are blurbs for most of the titles I was interested in. AND, the e-books are around 40% cheaper than the RRP so that makes them around $6.60AU. Much more reasonable than the print on demand physical books which I think are expensive at around $18 & I’d have to wait for them to arrive in the post. I can buy the Virago edition of Rose Macaulay’s Told by an Idiot for $18 so why would I choose a POD edition instead?

So, I’ve had a little splurge & bought 9 titles. Personal Pleasures & Letters to a Friend by Rose Macaulay, Faster! Faster! & Late & Soon by E M Delafield, The Queens & the Hive by Edith Sitwell, Company Parade & The Road from the Monument by Storm Jameson, Kate & Emma by Monica Dickens & A Lighthearted Quest by Ann Bridge (because I read Fleur Fisher’s review here & it sounds wonderful & if I enjoy it, the whole series is available from Bloomsbury Reader. So, quibbles about the website aside, I’m thrilled with this new venture & hope it’s a success & that Bloomsbury keep adding authors to the list (in some sort of order & with blurbs please).

I’ll leave you with a question. Margaret Irwin is one of the authors on the list & I loved her historical novels which I read many years ago. Does anyone know anything about another of her books called Still She Wished For Company? It looks contemporary rather than historical from the only cover I can find on the internet but I can’t find anything on the plot. I’m also tempted by Phyllis Bentley’s novels. I always remember her from Vera Brittain’s diaries of the 30s. They had a tentative friendship wrecked by Vera’s superiority & Phyllis’s lack of self-esteem & touchiness. She was famous for her historical, regional saga, Inheritance, & there are more of her novels on the list. But, I have enough to be going on with at the moment. At least the tbr shelves on my e-reader are invisible.

8 thoughts on “Bloomsbury Reader

  1. Oooh. It's a great list of titles, isn't it? Very tempting, at least to look through.

    Your image of Personal Pleasures brings back a nice memory. We used to have a mail-order bookseller called A (or The?) Common Reader, and they had (from the days before the Internet!) the best catalog, filled with intriguing books and the best and most enticing capsule descriptions. They went out of business suddenly and I wish I had saved every one of their catalogs (I do have one). This is a book that I remember seeing in their listings often…there's something in it about a camel?


  2. Audrey, I think the book with the camel is The Towers of Trebizond. It's RM's most famous novel &, of course, I have it on the tbr shelves but haven't read it! Other American friends have mentioned Common Reader, it sounds like a wonderful company.


  3. Rose, I love my e-reader. It's only a generic one not a Kindle or Sony. It was only $99 a year ago from an ad on the back of the Green Guide. It's basic but does all I want. It's light, easy to read, the battery lasts about 8 hours apparently although I recharge it if I've been using it for a while. I have over 120 books on it & haven't even scratched the surface of its capacity. Almost everything I have on it was free, from Gutenberg, Manybooks or Girlebooks. I bought a couple of books from Borders online because I wanted to see how that worked & I had no trouble downloading the Bloomsbury ebooks from Book Depository. My library also has Overdrive ebooks for loan so I can borrow as well. I'll never give up paper books but this is a great way to read 19th & early 20th century books that we rarely see secondhand here & they're usually free & they don't smell like secondhand books. I'm afraid I've become too spoilt with new books at work to enjoy handling old ones.


  4. Oh Lyn! Thank you so much! I've just clicked on Manybooks and Girlebooks — I had no idea!!! And you can borrow e-books? I didn't know that either. Oh my goodness.

    Would you mind telling me which reader you have? E-mail me at if you would prefer not to put this in your blog as endorsement.

    I may not sleep tonight.


  5. Like Audrey, I miss the Common Reader and wish I'd saved all my catalogs. They introduced me to a slew of new and interesting authors, like Rose Macaulay.

    I just bought a Kindle Keyboard, after swearing I'd never have an e-reader, and, so far, I love it. Easy to read and to hold, and I've downloaded over 50 mostly free books in the last few days. I keep turning the tiny e-reader around and wondering how it can possibly hold all those books. Magic!


  6. Lyn, Margaret Irwin's Still She Wished for Company was one of our postal books in the current round! I really enjoyed it, and it's a little dark so appropriate for Halloween maybe? I've never read anything like it. Looking forward to your posts about these ebooks!


  7. Joan, I can't work out where all the books go either! It's the invisible tbr shelf factor that I love. It's been a great addition to my reading, especially for out of print books. Erika, thanks for that info about the Irwin book. It sounds intriguing so I may have to splurge $6 on it! I've started reading the Ann Bridge book & it's terrific so a review will follow.


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