Today I came across a phrase for a phenomenon I was familiar with in the book industry, but had not been able to name: Status Galleys. A galley is a phrase used mainly in the US publishing scene, meaning an advance copy of a book yet to be published, which has been printed, bound and distributed to booksellers and media for the purpose of reviewing and (hopefully) building buzz. Here is Australia, we call them “proofs”, “reading copies” or “something to hold up a wonky table” (depending on the quality of said advance copy).
A status galley then, is an advance copy of a book that is highly anticipated or long-awaited, and that certain members of the arts industries take great pride in showing off. The New York Observer writes a great piece about status galleys here.
If you want to impress the literati this season, here is a partial list of the books you should be carrying…
Jonathan Lethem – Chronic City
Joshua Ferris – The Unnamed
Jonathan Safran Foer – Eating Animals
Barbara Kingsolver – The Lacuna
There are many more, but I’m off to a coffee shop to show off my newest status galley, Gin Phillips’ The Well and The Mine. Mmmm, previewey…
What are YOUR status galleys for the season?