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Value-Added Versions of Twain's Books
Bilingual Editions of Two Classics
I make a little money on a “side hustle” selling books on amazon. The ones that consistently sell the best are my three volumes of Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote in English and Spanish. Last week, though, I had the biggest sale in a single day ever, and it wasn’t Don Quixote: it was both Mark Twain novels that I’ve created English/Spanish editions of (“Tom Sawyer” and “Huck Finn,” shown above). While I had only $57 in sales after the first three weeks of May, I sold $253 worth of those two books on that one day. Note that that amount was my take, which is a small percentage of what amazon charges for the books — somebody spent well over $1,000 on these volumes. So this month suddenly became my biggest book sales month ever (I’ve been tracking my sales on amazon since I began selling books there in the middle of 2014).
I’m curious, though: who bought so many all at once? It could be a Mark Twain museum (Hannibal? Hartford? Elmira?), but most likely the purchaser is a school that either teaches English to Spanish speakers, or (more likely) Spanish to English speakers.
I hope that it’s not a one-time occurrence.
Anyway, this recent activity got me curious about any reviews these two books may have gotten on amazon, and I was gratified to find that there are five reviews of them, all of them 5-star. Here are the two for “Huck Finn,” which can be found here.
There are also three reviews of the English/Spanish edition of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" here, all of which were also 5-star reviews.
These English/Spanish editions also contains “asides” from me (in a gray rectangle like this) about bits and pieces of information about Twain that have a bearing on the part of the book where they appear, or explanations of things he wrote about which may be confusing to people in modern times. So the volumes are “value-added” not only in that they appear in two languages, but also because they contain sort of a “running commentary” throughout.
Please tell anyone you know who teaches Spanish to English speakers (or vice versa) about the availability and popularity of these books.
From the “that’s odd” department: My most popular post here on substack is about the English/IPA edition of Tom Sawyer, and yet I have only sold one copy of it. People are interested in reading about it, but not reading it, I guess. It also, BTW, contains the same "asides" or "explanatory notes" that the English/Spanish edition contains. Come to think of it, as a few of my English/French books are reasonably popular (such as The Scarlet Letter, Around the World in 80 Days, and Journey to the Center of the Earth), I thought that Frankenstein would be, too, but it seems to be invisible to the mass of book-buying homo sapiens.