By Tom Dulaney, Editor-in-Chief
A treasure trove of 91 books by the one-time bestselling British author Catherine Cookson is exclusively available and bargain prices in the Amazon Kindle Store as of today.
Click here to see the full list of the specially priced Cookson books.
Amazon's announcement, reprinted verbatim below, omitted what may well be the heart and certainly the soul of today's event. That is the brutal hardship into which the author was born, the shattered family of her childhood, the grinding life she led before turning to the craft of writing as as antidote to depression in her middle years.
Cookson's mother was an unwed alcoholic, and Cookson grew up thinking her mother was really her older sister. She was raised by her grandparents. At 13 she quit school, served as a domestic, then moved into a "workhouse" where she exchanged labor in the laundry for room and board. "Workhouses" were known as "poorhouses" in the US.
At 34, she married Tom Cookson in 1940. After a series of miscarriages, she sank into depression. She began writing as a therapy.
In time, she produced nearly 100 books and became the most-read author in England. Over 150 million copies of her books have been sold--so far. Their addition to the Kindle Store heralds a renaissance for the author, though she passed away in 1998 at the age of 91.
Her novels focus on downtrodden characters, their youngest years crushed by circumstances from which effort and events eventually lift them to better lives. In these hard, dark days of worldwide economic recession and overwhelming unemployement around the globe, her tales arrive at a time when a large audience is in need of them.
Several of the titles in the collection are autobiographical, for those who wish to know more about the author's background, life, and beliefs. Those include Our Kate, Let Me Make Myself Plain, and Plainer Still.
A biography, The Girl From Leam Lane: The Life And Writing of Catherine Cookson, was written by Piers Dudgeon, who had worked with Cookson on her memoirs, titled Catherine Cookson Country. Sadly, the book is out of print (for the moment), but some 30 used copies are available on Amazon.
Also out of print at the moment is My Land Of The North, in which Cookson writes of the hardships of her upbringing, and how they influenced her writing.
A second "unspoken headline" of today's announcement is the continuing role Amazon.com is actively playing in bringing wonderful books to the global reading public. From the availability of the Cookson body of work, much of it out of print, to the new authors from abroad presented by the AmazonCrossings program to the resurrection of books out of print in the AmazonEncore program, Amazon continues to be much more than just a bookseller.
Here is the announcement from Amazon:
Amazon.com today announced that 91 titles from Dame Catherine Cookson are now available as e-books for the first time, exclusively in the Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore).
The collection of titles, including some which are out of print, represents the majority of the full-length novels from one of the UK's most-read novelists. These books, which are published by The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust in conjunction with Peach Publishing, are available from $1.50-$5.99 and can be downloaded exclusively by Kindle and Kindle app customers. All 91 titles are available exclusively to U.S. and international customers on Amazon.com, and to U.K. customers on Amazon.co.uk.
Dame Catherine Cookson sold over 150 million books during a writing career that spanned more than 50 years. Translated into over 20 languages, her work was often adapted for the big and the small screen as well as for the stage and radio.
"Dame Catherine Cookson is one of the most popular British writers, and no doubt many American readers of mysteries or romantic thrillers are also familiar with her name," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. "We hope that her longtime fans and new readers will enjoy discovering her entire body of work, now available in the Kindle Store."
"For a long time, Dame Catherine Cookson was the U.K.'s most celebrated and successful novelist. Now, for the first time since her death in 1998, the vast majority of her titles will be available throughout the world," said Sonia Land of Peach Publishing. "We are delighted that both new and loyal fans can view, at a glance, the majority of the full-length novels that Catherine has written and buy one or more of her e-books in less than a minute."