I’ve just noticed that Amazon are selling a single Kindle download of five of Mrs Radcliffe’s novels for just £1.28!

That’s right, you get

  • The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne
  • Romance of the Forest
  • A Sicilian Romance
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho and
  • The Italian

That’s everything excepting good old Gaston de Blondeville for less that the price of a cup of tea.

Whilst obviously good value, I feel just a little despair that anyone can contemplate giving these great novels away for practically nothing. I remember when I first read Radcliffe that some of these were actually unobtainable, anywhere, not even for ready money. Actually finding reading copies was almost half the adventure. We have to be thankful that publishing has moved on and brought these novels back to life. The specialist publishers (and even the print on demand people, although I quite loathe them really)  have done magnificent work in the last ten years digging up these lost novels, re-editing and republishing them.

So how does this virtually giving away Radcliffe help? Will it spread the demand so that the market for Gothic spreads and the niche publishers specialising in reprints of One Handed Monks, Castle Spectres and Haunted Forests too will see a growth in demand and trade?

Sadly I very much doubt it, once again I’m sure Amazon are seeing the price of everything and the value of nothing. I’m sure Mrs R would be  turning a little in her grave at the thought of her works reduced to a £1 download, if anyone deserves to hear the rattling of chains through the corridors at night then surely it is the people who put this little package together.

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