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Good news, everyone! Publishers Weekly reports that even after a record-breaking year in 2020, print book sales continued to climb in 2021.

"Led by the fiction categories, unit sales of print books rose 8.9% in 2021 over 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Units sold were 825.7 million last year, up from 757.9 million in 2020. BookScan captures approximately 85% of all print sales."

Read the full article.

- Chris

2021 turned out to be a rather unproductive year for this little book publishing operation. After I released three historical reprints last winter, my "real" job kept me busy enough through the spring and summer that I didn't work on any of my works in progress. Things slowed down a bit in the fall, and I resumed working on one project in particular. I hope to complete and publish it in 2022, but it's a big project, so we'll see. I'll say no more about it at this time, except that it will be about an exciting and little-known episode of local history.

I had my first experience with book returns this year. No, not the after-hours slot in the door of the library. The vast majority of books published in the United States are purchased by booksellers with the understanding that they can be returned for a full refund if they don't sell. Evidently a bookseller which had stocked a couple of dozen hardcover copies of Military Interference With the Election in Delaware decided they weren't going to sell -- or, more likely, an algorithm made the call -- and returned them. Unfortunately, I discovered after the fact that I had not required returns of this particular book to actually, literally be returned to me, so the bookseller destroyed the books, and I received an unexpected bill for several hundred dollars. This was a valuable learning experience for me, and I've updated the settings with the distributor so that future returns will, indeed, be returned to me.

A happier development in 2021 was the acquisition of twelve copies of Military Interference and three copies of The Roofed Graves of Delmarva by a number of public libraries in Delaware. I also provided copies of each book to the Delaware Public Archives. I was especially happy to see libraries putting Military Interference on the shelf, since it's such an important reference work. Most of the copies can be checked out, but some are held in noncirculating collections.

Looking forward to 2022, I'm hoping it will be The Year of the Book, at least for Bald Cypress Books. I expect to publish a couple more historical reprints, as well as a collection of articles I'd previously published on my old Peninsula Roots blog. When I look at my list of works in progress, it is conceivable that I could complete and publish two or three original books. If so, it will be a good -- but busy -- year.

To those who have purchased a book from Bald Cypress Books in 2021, thank you for your support. As we prepare to turn the page, I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous new year.

- Chris Slavens

Bald Cypress Books has released another addition to its series of historical reprints, Narrative and Confessions of Lucretia P. Cannon.

This brief biography of Delmarva's infamous kidnapper and serial killer Patty Cannon, published in 1841, might contain more fiction than fact -- even the name Lucretia is questionable -- but it is one of the earliest sources of information about her life, crimes, and death. Perhaps the sensational scenes depicted in the text, such as Cannon's killing of a screaming child in an open fire, were based on genuine rumors in circulation during the decade after her death, whether they were true or not. There is no doubt that Cannon kidnapped, enslaved, and murdered innocent people, and she remains the most sinister figure in Eastern Shore history and folklore nearly two centuries after her death.

The book is available via Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

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