Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Autobiography flies off shelves


Sales up: Jevene Christom looks through the autobiography, In The Midst of It, by former president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson, yesterday at Nigel R Khan Bookseller at High Street, San Fernando. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

WITHIN hours after if was announced that Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, the only person to hold this country’s three highest offices had passed away, the written account of his life started to fly off bookshelves.

Robinson, this country’s former head of state, head of government and chairman of the Tobago House of Assembly, passed away at St Clair Medical Centre around 6 a.m. yesterday.

Robinson, 87, had been ailing for several months.

By midday yesterday, Robinson’s autobiography, In the Midst of It, which was published by Hansib Publications, began to sell out in bookstores.

In the Midst of It was returned to the area set aside for best-sellers at the Henry Street branch of Nigel R Khan Bookseller yesterday.

Speaking to the Express by phone yesterday, Khan said the organisation tracked an increase in the sale of the books since the announcement of Robinson’s passing.

“Because our software is so robust we know what begins to sell, so immediately at our Trincity Mall and Westmall stores it flagged them stating that these titles started to sell all of a sudden, and I am talking about this morning,” Khan said.

Khan said at the Trincity Mall branch, nine copies were sold yesterday morning, while five were sold at Westmall, four in Tobago and three at Gulf City.

“You would usually see a tip-up of the title because people want to get to know who this man was. I would expect to see our sales in these titles fly off the shelves. It will fly off the shelf,” Khan said.

Khan said the bookstore will be restocked to deal with the expected increase in demand.

“We will automatically now uplift the stock. The stores, we will load them up with extras,” he said.

Khan said In the Midst of It is currently number ten on the “acceleration of a title” list on the bookstore’s database.

“It (In the Midst of It) is behind the faster sellers, behind Naparima Girls’ (High School Cookbook), Fifty Shades of Grey, and then in its category it is number one now,” Khan said.

Khan described Robinson, whom he met once at Pigeon Point in Tobago, as a “national treasure”.

“I see it (Robinson’s passing) as a great loss, a loss of integrity, values, that throwback to the good old guards who kept the right. Remember he said ‘moral and spiritual values’ once, remember he said ‘attack with full force’ and he was in there (inside the Parliament). Whenever you see him, that is what you would think,” Khan said.

On its website, Hansib Publications has an abridged foreword by David Kreiger of In the Midst of It, which states:

“Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson rose from humble origins on a small island in the Caribbean to become a national, regional and international leader.

“His life story has been truly inspirational. It is a story that contains the magic and poetry of what life can and should be. Nonetheless, it has not been an easy life. Certainly, ANR Robinson has faced his share of challenges, including some that have been life-threatening, but he has lived with solid principles rooted in justice for all and deep faith in humanity. This has served him well.”