He was the Olympic rower who famously commanded that he should be shot if he was ever found near a boat again after the 1996 Atlanta Games, but who four years later stood on the podium at Sydney to accept an unprecedented fifth gold. But there are none left, and there is a waiting list of people who want one.So where will it all stop? Well, I'm taking advance orders for my new book now I'm printing just 10, and it will cost, oh, £5,000 I'll sign them too Twice, if you like Now I've just got to think of a subject.. He asked me to publicise it in my magazine Classic Angling, then rang to say: "Er, forget it We've sold out."The book has never received any publicity. It's a nice little business, and everyone is happy.But not everyone. Goddard's trout-fly book, printed by Creel Press, has taken this to an extreme length by printing fewer than 50 classy copies.
Benn, the former owner of Press Gazette, the journalists' trade paper, knows a thing or two about publishing, but he got this one wrong. If you want a copy of Medlar's Something Fishy, by Phil Woodhall, you need to move fast Just 498 were printed.With a short run, costs go up. But publishers found that anglers don't mind paying for a finely bound limited edition. They added on a few bound in leather or even salmon skin at five times the price, and found that these went first. Get them signed by the author, and they prove even more popular As insurance, publishers take advance orders for books. Once this figure reaches the break-even point, the publisher prints the book.
An author with an angling-book idea was as popular as malaria. The economics just didn't add up.This gave rise to a new breed of publisher. Instead of the "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" philosophy, they took a more precise approach. Companies such as the Flyfishers Classic Library, Medlar Press and Little Egret Press stopped printing tens of thousands They even stopped printing thousands. To compound the mystery, it sells for a whopping £425 - and that's just the cheap version.Once upon a time, anglers read loads of books. Bernard Venables' Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing sold more than two million copies, making it the best-selling sports book of all time Even very average books sold 15,000 or more It was a golden age.Then it all changed.