One of the greatest pleasures of publishing a novel is the news that trickles in from foreign parts. Every now and again I get an unexpected note from a reader, and these make my day. People write in just to say how much they enjoyed “Gutenberg’s Apprentice”, often tossing in a comment about their connection to printing or simply their appreciation of what it took to bring books into the world. One bookseller at Coles Books in Edmonton, Alberta, wrote to say that she had made the book a “staff pick,” and hoped to make it a “CEO 100”, meaning she’d try to sell 100 copies in three months. “I think it’s a very important book in that it covers an important development in the availability of the written word as well as in the nature of what was later written, ” wrote Connie Flanagan. Thank you, Connie. Another wrote in to say she was a “huge fan,” and requested a signed photo (oh my!)
Then there are the foreign editions, which my wonderful agents have sold all over the world. I delight in seeing each one, which interpret my story in ways appropriate to their own readers. The covers are all different, and magical to me. I was especially amazed to see the reception of my novel in Taiwan, where the Mandarin edition has just appeared. At the 24-hour Eslite Bookstore in Taipei, it was chosen the “Best Book of July” and got a marvelous in-store display. Just as exciting to me was the fabulous production: a beautiful Japanese-bound book in its own slipcase, along with a commemorative envelope of three keepsake postcards. A photo appears here; other editions are shown below.
I adore the Spanish version of the title: El Discípulo de Gutenberg – the word “disciple” is so absolutely perfect a description of Peter Schoeffer’s role, and apt as a synonym for “apprentice”, it seems to me. Take a look at the Polish edition and the Hungarian, too. Each is beautiful, evocative, taking its inspiration from the hand illuminations that accompanied the world’s first printed book. More editions will be coming, in Croatian, Portugese, and other languages. I can’t wait to see what they will look like.