One million books, plus one

In my defence I can say that it just doesn’t exist in Holland, illegal book selling on the street. So when I walked from the boat in Kabataş to the metro line to Taksim and came across a piece of cloth on the pavement with a guy on it and a row of books, I didn’t think: illegal merchandise! No, I saw the bright pink cover of the book ‘Aşk’ (Love) by Elif Şafak, and I felt the urge to start reading Turkish literature. Seven lira, nice price, and the book was mine. The cover is a bit worn, I thought when I looked at the book more closely. And only then did it get through to me: didn’t I read something in the newspaper just the day before about a police campaign against illegal books, in which 1 million illegal copies were seized from printing offices, book shops and depots, worth about 25 million lira? Apparently the one I just purchased, slipped through. Stupid me, I’m all for copyright, I’m even on the board of a freelance writers’ association that speaks out fiercely against infringing copyrights, and I don’t immediately recognise an illegal book when I practically stumble over it? May God punish me quickly and make the book fall apart as soon as I start turning pages.

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