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This is one paperback’s life story. That paperback is me.

Some eggheads may call me an inanimate object. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m a book – paperback book to be precise. And I have recently discovered I’m quite a special book. Taraah! That was a drum roll in case you didn’t hear it.

I’m going to be a signed copy. My creator is going to sign me and mail it to one of his deserving fans. My brothers and sisters tell me it’s a privilege to be signed by your creator. It ensures I will always be treasured as much as the deserving reader’s cats. I got told that too. Most avid readers have cats.

I have heard some horror stories about what some people do to books. They tear pages from them; turn down corners instead of using bookmarks; spill drinks on them; write and scribble in them. I even heard some crazies burn them.

So, I feel privileged knowing I shall be looked after.

I’ll tell you a little more about me. I’m two-months old and was born in a land called POD. That land is controlled by a force known as Amazon.

My creator likes Amazon because it allows him to write books then publish them. Amazon has a huge virtual store which allows my creator to display his creations such as me. Some of my brothers and sisters are like me: paperback books but others are virtual. They are real, I suppose, as they can be read as a digital version, but many say they are inferior to us paperbacks. I guess that is true in a way because I’ve never heard of a signed digital book, have you?

The wonderful thing about my birthplace, POD, is that from the moment I’m set up in the birth factory, I know I’m really wanted. Someone has ordered me. That makes three people happy: me, my creator, and my ultimate carer who will read my pages and take care of me. That last point is magnified a hundredfold if the book is to become a signed copy. I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

I don’t recall much at all about my birth except for the bar code. That was painful and a shock to my system. I was relaxed and thinking it was all over when wham! Some machine hit me hard on my backside. It felt hot and a little sticky. But you know what? I knew I was unique after it had been applied.

After my birth in POD, I didn’t stay there long. I was scooped up with two of my identical triplets and packaged ready to ship to California. I queried this with a nice lady in an overall with ‘Amazon’ printed on the back. She told me it was quite usual for this creator to ship to California because he lives in the Philippines.

I asked for my creator’s name and she said, “Stephen Bentley.” I was curious.

“Why California?” I said.

“There is a Philippines shipping company with a warehouse near LAX.”

“What’s LAX?”

“My! You ask a lot of questions. Los Angeles International Airport.”

“I’m going on a plane ride?”

“At least two. You will travel in a big truck from here then transfer to a smaller truck to be delivered to the LAX warehouse. From there, you will be flown to the Philippines via South Korea. That takes two flights.”

“Wow! I’m excited. Hang on … who’s paying for this travel?

“Your creator, Stephen.”

“Seems like a nice man.”

“Can’t say. I don’t know him.”

***

The journey from POD to California was just like the lady told me. I arrived there with my siblings. We were weighed, photographed, and placed in another shipping package.

one paperback's life story

Photographed in the LAX Warehouse

That’s me in the middle with my two siblings either side of me.

The warehouse folks told our creator, Stephen, we had arrived safely. They also sent him an invoice for $39.00. That is to pay for our flights from the LAX warehouse to the Philippines and covers all three of us.

Now we wait for onward shipping to our creator’s home. Once we arrive, he will sign us with a warm personalized message, then mail us to our final destination. That part of the journey is by ordinary air mail.

Philippines to anywhere else in the world by mail is slow so I can dream about my loving welcome when I finally make it to my owner’s home. In my case, I’m going back to America. I’m unsure where my siblings are going. I think one is bound for the United Kingdom. Anyway, our creator is paying to mail us to our new loving owners. I’m told it costs about $15 to mail us to each address. That’s $45 in all.

Our creator must truly appreciate his readers.

This is the reason why he goes to the trouble:

My new owner wrote this about the words within my pages. She then posted those words to Amazon in the United States.

She wrote:

Karen B

5.0 out of 5 stars The Steve Regan Undercover Cop Complete Collection

April 22, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

This collection was sent to me free from Voracious Readers Only. Truly a masterpiece, each novel brings out a little more of undercover cop Steve Regan. You can feel the tension gathering with each passing second as you immerse yourself in the undercover cop world. I couldn’t tell which part I liked best, it was all fantastic. If you enjoy a fast paced, gripping read, this series is for you. I won’t give anything away, just that Steve Regan or whatever his name is, is a good cops cop.

My creator was so thrilled, especially as it was the first review for The Steve Regan Undercover Cop Complete Collection, he decided to contact Karen B. That wasn’t too difficult. He used to be a real detective, you know.

Karen was delighted and is looking forward to receiving me – her personal signed copy – and she also accepted Stephen’s invitation to join his VIP Fans of Stephen Bentley Books Facebook group.

I’m delighted too. I know Karen will love me and take good care of me. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and her cats.

I know Stephen wishes he could send more signed copies but I think you can understand why it’s difficult. I also know he kinda envies writers who have real fans living in the same continent as the author.

Life is often full of compromises. I know his contented life in the Philippines enables him to write books that entertain readers the whole word over.

Perhaps, one day he will get to visit the UK once more, and return to the States. Maybe he will hold a book signing?

See you there. Look out for Karen and me.


I have no idea if Karen has a cat or cats. I also have no idea how a bar code is applied to a book in the land of POD. Why spoil a good story with facts? 🙂 

For the inquisitive among you, the weight of each book is 1.6 pounds and measures 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches. That translates to 726 grams and 14 x 3.2 x 21.6 cm. 

The service I use to ship from either Amazon US or UK is called LBC Shipping Cart. Firstly I order my author copies then pay for Amazon shipping to either the London Heathrow or LAX warehouses of LBC. After payment of air freight, the package is shipped to my door. All taxes and any applicable Customs duties are included in the shipping cost. 

I would also make clear this story is not intended to be a gripe. It is intended to spell out the harsh realities of living the expat life as a writer and being isolated from lovely people – true fans. 


Have a ‘Look Inside.’


If like Karen, you wish to join my small group of fans and super people, click on the Join button below.

 

VIP Group for Fans of Stephen Bentley Books
Closed group · 28 members
 

Join Group

 

A closed group for beta readers & VIP fans of Stephen Bentley books. To join, please answer the questions and submit for approval. No answers – no app…

 

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